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Open Access Optimising Energy Management in Industry – 'OPTEMIN' – EPSRC

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The UK Government the EU and the international community in general have ambitious targets for reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and Global Warming. Even though emission reduction targets to 2020 are likely to be met by the UK, longer term targets to 2050 and 2100 are unlikely to be met without substantial changes to policy and technological approaches in the generation, distribution and utilisation of energy.

Globally, industrial energy use is responsible for 33% of greenhouse gas emissions. In the UK, industrial emissions have reduced in recent years and are now estimated to contribute between 20-25% of total emissions. Approximately 70% of the energy demand of the industrial sector is for heat. All heating processes result in significant quantities of waste heat, up to 50% in some cases, and is widely acknowledged that there is significant potential for heat recovery, estimated at between 18-40 TWh/yr or £0.18-0.4 billion per year at today's energy prices. As yet, most of this potential has remained unexploited due to technical, economic and organisational factors. Other opportunities for energy efficiency and decarbonisation include the optimisation of steam systems that are responsible for 35% of industrial energy use, the use of bioenergy, particularly from organic and other wastes generated on site, and whole industrial site energy integration and optimisation.

To exploit the potential offered by energy efficiency, heat recovery and conversion to electrical or thermal energy at a higher or lower temperature and utilise the opportunities offered by waste to energy conversion and energy integration a number of major challenges need to be addressed. These include: i) development and application of technologies for data acquisition at high enough granularity to enable detailed analysis of performance at component, process and system level, ii) methodologies for the optimal design of technologies to provide confidence in their performance at impementation stage, iii) tools for performance analysis and control optimisation in real time, iv) modelling of energy flows at site level to provide optimisation of energy management based on energy, environmental and economic considerations, and iv) investigation and development of business models that overcome barriers and encourage the adoption of new energy efficient and demand reduction technologies. In the OPTEMIN project we aim to address these challenges by working very closely with our key industrial collaborators to: i) understand the major technical, operational and economic issues associated with the acquisition and analysis of large energy data, ii) use the data to gain insights into the complex energy networks, their interactions and impacts in large industrial manufacturing facilities, iii) critically evaluate the performance of new innovative energy demand reduction and energy conversion technologies using data from demonstration installations, iv) investigate drivers and business models that can facilitate their full development and commercialisation, v) develop methodologies and tools to optimise individual process design, whole site energy integration and management and evaluate their decarbonisation potential within the context of Government policies and decarbonisation roadmaps to 2050. The overall objective is to demonstrate through the research programme and fully documented case studies supported by comprehensive data sets, the potential to achieve energy demand and carbon emission reductions in excess of 15%.
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Keywords: BRUNEL UNIVERSITY; ENERGY EFFICIENCY; ENERGY MANAGEMENT; EPSRC; GLOBAL WARMING; GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS; HEAT RECOVERY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2018

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