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Optimising energy management in industry

The UK Government the EU and the international community, in general, have ambitious targets for the 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 the implementation stage,

iii) tools for performance analysis and control optimisation in real time,

iv) modeling 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.


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Related Research Group(s)

Heat Pipe and Thermal Management

Heat Pipe and Thermal Management - Thermal management; Energy efficiency development; Emission reduction; Energy recovery; Heat-pipe technology; Heat exchangers; Fluid dynamics.


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Project last modified 13/07/2021