Manufacturing systems researchers at Brunel University are to team up with car industry giant SEAT to develop a new artificial intelligence-driven energy management system for the automotive industry.
The 'EuroEnergest' project, which involves four other European partners, aims to reduce energy consumption in specific areas of the automotive industry such as HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) by a minimum of 10% following testing at SEAT's facilities in Barcelona.
Professor Kai Cheng, Head of Brunel University's Advanced Manufacturing and Enterprise Engineering group and Director of the University's Innovative Manufacturing Collaborative Research Network, explained the scope of the project: "The automotive industry is one of the main industrial consumers of energy. With a significant 1.2% of the total European industrial energy consumption, an increase in energy efficiency by the automotive industry during the manufacturing process would result in an important advance in energy saving and CO2 emissions limitation. At the same time, the automotive industry is characterised by large factories with large amounts of energy data to be considered during regular operation. Such complexity is beyond human abilities and can only be analysed by automatic ICT systems."
Over the next three years, funded by the European Framework 7 programme, the project's partners will work towards the development of an intelligent energy management system that will help to attain high energy efficiency in the automobile manufacturing process. It is expected that the systems will interact with industrial loads and available power sources to optimise the demanded power costs, as well as maximising local and low-carbon energy sources. The project will include a deep analysis of CO2 emissions and the process needed for measuring and modelling the manufacturing carbon footprint.
Validation at SEAT's manufacturing site will guarantee that the final system is effective and can be applied across the Audi-Volkswagen group and, in the longer term, potentially to other car manufacturers in Europe and worldwide.
Brunel University's Dr Richard Bateman said: "At Brunel, we will be leading the life cycle analysis of total energy costs and environmental impact along the whole process, where energy and CO2 savings measurement procedures and technologies are defined and developed." "We're excited about the potential of the project, and look forward to working closely with all the partners."
Alongside Brunel, the project involves the Spanish company Enertika, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Universitat Politechnica de Catalunya, and Comfort Consulting Ltd.