Representatives from sensors and controls manufacturers and users as well as scientists and researchers from the national laboratories recently met at a national forum.

Representatives from sensors and controls manufacturers and users as well as scientists and researchers from the national laboratories met at a national forum to share information on recent research and discuss the industry's research needs. Held on November 19 and 20, 2002, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., the Process Heating Sensors and Controls Forum was co-sponsored by the Industrial Heating Equipment Association (IHEA) and U.S. Department of Energy, Washington.

Forum organizers noted that process heating accounts for nearly 17 percent of all U.S. industrial energy use. Improving the efficient operation of process heating systems through advanced controls and monitoring will contribute to greater energy efficiency as well as lower operating costs, greater reliability and productivity, and improved safety.

The 40 forum participants presented industry needs and reviewed promising research for more sophisticated, robust sensors and measurement devices in a range of process heating applications. Participants noted that industry needs cost-effective methods of conducting real-time, nonintrusive testing, particularly in hostile environments.

Increased industry involvement in guiding the direction of future research was established as an overall goal. As a first step in reaching this goal, industry representatives agreed to develop a performance specification for key sensors and controls needs. This specification could then be used to guide future DOE research for process heating. A white paper developed by forum participants will document these findings and make recommendations to DOE. Publication is expected in March.

For more information, contact James Houston, executive vice president of IHEA, at (703) 525-2513, fax (703) 525-2515 or e-mail ihea@ihea.org.