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Dr. Nutter performs a combination of fundamental and applied energy systems research that is motivated by achieving increased energy efficiency in buildings and industry. He has published extensively in the energy efficiency area, specifically toward the improvement of HVAC&R systems and sustainability of manufacturing/processing plants. Below are brief overviews of both major areas. 

Industrial Energy Efficiency

Arkansas Industrial Energy Clearinghouse

The Arkansas Industrial Energy Clearinghouse is housed within the University of Arkansas's Mechanical Engineering Department and directed by Dr. Nutter. The 'Clearinghouse' supports and promotes energy efficiency developments in Arkansas's manufacturing plants. The services of the Clearinghouse are provided at no cost to the customer.

Industries, whether big or small, can connect with the Clearinghouse for advice, assistance, and technical resources related to energy efficiency. We're here to help industry overcome the existing barriers to utilization by leveraging and providing access to our expertise, the Department of Energy's resources as well as other tools, materials, papers and publications that are pertinent to industries in Arkansas. 

The Arkansas Industrial Energy Clearinghouse can help companies conduct their own energy assessments, establish their own energy management program, answer specific technical questions, and occasionally visit your plant.  We are your local source for expertise in industrial energy management. The Clearinghouse is here to help you reduce utility costs and identify significant energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions, while increasing the competitive advantage of the manufacturing base in Arkansas.

For more information, go to the Arkansas Industrial Energy Clearinghouse website:
Arkansas Industrial Energy Clearinghouse

UA Industrial Assessment Center

The University of Arkansas' Mechanical Engineering Department also houses an Industrial Assessment Center (IAC).  IAC's perform no-cost energy assessments for industrial manufacturing plants.  The UA's IAC is partnered with the well established Oklahoma State IAC.  IACs are located at universities across the country and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy through their Advanced Manufacturing Office

The program provides on-site plant assessments performed by Dr. Darin Nutter, P.E. of the mechanical engineering department at the University of Arkansas and his undergraduate and graduate students.  Dr. Nutter's industrial energy conservation experience spans over 20 years including experience (as student, assistant director, and now affiliate-director) at three DOE Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC).  In addition to the detailed pre-assessment plant screening, and a utility analysis, each plant assessment will include a comprehensive discussion of energy-related issues with plant personnel, a walk-though of the plant from raw-materials through finished product, identification of energy conservation opportunities, data collection for engineering calculations and implementation cost estimates, and a debriefing with plant personnel.

The UA Industrial Assessment Center is excited to serve industry within the state of Arkansas.  To be eligible for an IAC assessment, a manufacturing plant typically meets these criteria:

Within Standard Industrial Codes (SIC) 20-39.
Within 150 miles of the University of Arkansas.
Gross annual sales below $100 million.
Fewer than 500 employees at the plant site.
Annual energy bills more than $100,000 and less than $2.5 million.
No professional in-house staff capable of performer energy assessments.
For more information, please contact Mr. Chase Harding at 479-575-4609.

Improving Processing Energy Efficiency and Reducing Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)

Gifford Pinchot once said "Conservation means the wise use of the earth and its resources for the lasting good of men". This captures the essence of much of Dr. Nutter's research and outreach to the state of Arkansas. As the stability and security of our nation depends so much on fossil fuels, it is only logical to be as energy efficient in our manufacturing plants and buildings as possible. The recent push to reduce GHGs is directly tied to energy use and efficiency. Over the last few years, Dr. Nutter has partnered with faculty at the University of Arkansas and other institutions, along with industrial sponsors, to better understand the connection of GHG emission in food and agricultural products. For example, Dr. Nutter and others have and are performing life cycle assessments (LCAs) for products such as fluid milk, cheeses, pork, sweet corn, and others. He is active with the dairy industry's processing plants and is chair of the DAIRY PLANT SMART initiative that is seeking to reduce dairy processing plant GHG emissions by 25% by 2020. Visit the website for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy's website for more information.

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy:
Diary Plant Smart Initiative:



HVAC Systems and Components

For more than 20 years, Dr. Nutter has performed fundamental research related to the energy performance of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment.  System and component level research has included studies of the following equipment, materials, and related topics – accumulators, aerosol deposition, aquifer heat transfer, boilers, carbon nanotubes, chillers, cogeneration systems, compressors, condensers, enhanced boiling, evaporators, heat pumps, indoor air quality, reversing valves, thermal insulation, thermal conductivity, thermosyphons, and vertical bore heat exchangers.

Building Energy Simulation Modeling

Advances of research in commercial building energy use leads to a better understanding of the energy interactions between systems.  The use of energy simulation models such as EnergyPlus, eQuest, or IES can help provide the necessary insight that leads to today’s high performing and most energy efficient buildings.  Dr. Nutter and his students have created or used available building energy simulation models to investigate building types such as schools, big box retail, offices, supermarkets, restaurants, hospitals, and motels.