In a time when trimming costs has become an everyday concern for businesses, interns from the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program are helping Minnesota companies decrease their expenses by increasing efficiencies and reducing energy use.
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) has placed highly qualified students in companies for 25 years. These interns help businesses address an environmental or energy efficiency projects. Nearly all of these projects have helped companies reduce waste and save money. and save money.
Each summer, 6 to 9 highly qualified interns lead projects at Minnesota businesses that range from identifying opportunities to reduce hazardous waste to investigating potential energy efficiency process improvements.
Pollution prevention at work
In 2012, nine interns focused on reducing energy and water use as well as finding waste reduction solutions. Many of the interns were able to start implementing their recommendations. In total, if implemented, the interns’ proposals for 2012 could save their companies:
- 23,000 pounds hazardous waste
- 371,000 pounds solid waste
- 3.7 million pounds organic waste
- 17.2 million gallons of water
- 508, 000 kWh, and 106,000 therms
“Our experience with MnTAP interns has shown them to be of a high caliber and able to work independently,” said Brad Gehring, energy specialist at Metropolitan Council Environmental Services.
Intern success: Consolidated Precision Products
The Consolidated Precision Products (CPP) of Minneapolis uses chemically bonded sand to cast a variety of aluminum and magnesium alloys in parts up to 1,000 pounds for critical aerospace applications. Two MnTAP interns researched two projects at CPP: sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) alternatives and energy efficiency opportunities.
Based on one intern’s research, an alternative of a low concentration of sulfur dioxide has helped CPP reduce annual use of SF6 by 36,500 pounds and is saving over $250,000 annually. This project has helped move the corporation toward eliminating the use of SF6 as the primary cover gas at all three of the CPP magnesium casting facilities in the U.S. The second intern, who now is a full-time CPP employee, has helped implement energy efficiency recommendations resulting in annual reductions of nearly 1 million kWh and 93,000 therms and savings of nearly $120,000 in energy costs.
Consolidated Precision Products (CPP) of Minneapolis appreciated the opportunity to work with interns who are dedicated to projects that sometimes take a back seat to production needs.
“The beauty of the MnTAP intern program is that the intern is focused on one thing,” notes Jim Trudeau, Facilities and Maintenance Manager at CPP.
For more information
The MnTAP intern program is funded by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Find out more about Minnesota Technical Assistance Program's intern program.