SusTEM Network: Sustainhermal Energy Management Network

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: NIRES Newcastle Inst for Res on Env &Sus


There are significant concerns about the UK's ability to meet national and international climate change targets and long term security of supply. There exists many opportunities to improve the efficient use of thermal energy in existing buildings/plants and modes of transport and to give greater consideration to thermal energy management in future designs.

Industrial consumption accounted for 18% of total UK final energy consumption in 2011. Within this industrial sector, heat use (space heating, drying/separation, high/low temperature processing) accounts for over 70% of total UK industrial energy use. The market potential for waste heat is estimated to be between 10TWh - 40TWh per annum. Recent developments in energy processing and the need for CO2 reduction have led to a growing interest in using this heat. SMEs account for 45% of industrial energy use but their processes and plants are often less efficient, largely due to the financial cost of optimisation . It is therefore important to ensure support and focus is given to SMEs, particularly addressing the barriers to effective thermal use applicable to this part of the economy.

Commercial and residential buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of the UK's total non-transport energy use, with space heating and hot water accounting for almost 80% of residential and 60% of commercial energy use between sectors. Marine and rail transport contribute over 14 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to UK annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and similar opportunities to those in the industrial and building sectors to reduce thermal energy demand exist. The adoption of increasingly stringent emissions legislation and increasing fuel costs have made it even more important that the thermal energy in the power and propulsion is optimised, for example through greater energy recovery and storage.

The SusTEM Network will build upon the success of the PRO-TEM Network and expanding its remit. This will include the engagement of researchers with social and economic expertise and widening the network through further engagement with industry, particularly SMEs, academia and government and policy makers (local and national) who have not previously participated in the PRO-TEM Network. SusTEM Network will have the following key objectives:

1. Provide a forum to incorporate stakeholder opinions in the area of thermal energy management for the industrial, building, and transport sectors.
2. Engage with multi-disciplinary researchers within the research community at UK HE institutions, including End Use Energy Demand Centres, to maximise dissemination, impact, reach and significance of research outcomes.
3. Stimulate knowledge transfer between academia, industry, government and other stakeholders.
4. Identify and promote future research requirements based on partner contributions, road-mapping and links to Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTN), European Technology Platforms (ETP) and other relevant networks and initiatives.
5. Foster long-term collaboration between outstanding research teams in the UK and China and to ensure there is a two way transfer of knowledge.

Planned Impact

SusTEM is expected to have a significant impact on future sustainable thermal energy management in a number of sectors The Network will be multi-disciplinary in nature to ensure crucial issues in the fields of policy, techno-economic and social impact are addressed, as well as transferring technical solutions to a variety of stakeholders. This Network would support UK Government and EU efforts relating to energy efficiency, security of supply and green house gas emissions reduction. Government and policy makers are increasingly aware of the technological and social challenges if future energy demands and legal targets are to be achieved. They will benefit by having the opportunity to input their concerns and needs into the international research effort and therefore help shape future research strategy. Benefits will be gained from the technology transfer of robust technical, social and economic solutions from the academic community. The identification of barriers, incentives, trade-offs and opportunities to exploit effective thermal energy management across sectors will support policy and regulatory interventions.

The engagement with all important stakeholders has been demonstrated by the PRO-TEM Network when disseminating research outcomes and identifying barriers and future challenges in the use of thermal energy. The SusTEM Network will build upon this model to maximise all impact opportunities. Impact pathways have been devised to ensure maximum impact through engagement, technology transfer and international collaboration. Industry and business will benefit through the knowledge transfer of innovative technology and behaviour/practices research to improve thermal energy management in their organisations thereby reducing fuel costs, greenhouse gas emissions and improving efficiency or to allow them to become world leaders in thermal energy management solutions which is an expanding market worldwide. Industry and business will also benefit from the opportunity to actively engage with researchers in order to input to future research strategies and communicate their needs and real or perceived barriers.

The proposed Network will have substantial relevance to a large cross section of society including the academic community in the UK and worldwide. The Network will provide academic researchers with the opportunity to establish working relationships and undertake collaborative projects with academic researchers at other universities (including international experts particularly in China) as well as end users of thermal energy and other stakeholders. The Network will contribute to accelerating the development of academic research and providing opportunities to publish and dissemination results of academic activities. Access to the resource collection on the Network website will be of benefit to all academic researchers, particularly early career researchers. SusTEM will disseminate knowledge through various strategic pathways including journal publications, SusTEM Conferences, Stakeholder events, collaboration with partners from China and a variety of UK and European research forums


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Description The SusTEM Network aims to cover thermal energy management applicable to buildings, transport and industry sectors. Key findings include:
1. Case studies on the production of steel, paper, breweries and cement, supplemented by technical discussion on the development of industrial boilers, heat pumps and heat exchangers
2. Technical review on heat utilisation technologies with a focus on heat pipes
3. Development of a life cycle assessment framework for marine photovoltaic systems
4. For the case studies on the production of steel, paper, breweries and cement: definition and measurement of efficiency were tailored to industrial needs, technologies ready for adoption were identified and presented in addition to the documentation of detailed case studies of energy use to provide insights to both researchers and practitioners by identifying realistic improvements and barriers to such application.
5. For the review on heat utilisation technologies: various types of heat pipes, the use of nanotechnology for heat pipe application, and their potential in the future were researched and reported.
6. For the life cycle assessment framework for marine photovoltaic systems: In compliance with ISO Standards and based on literature analysis, a life cycle assessment framework for marine PV systems (which exemplify the state-of-the-art development of renewable and sustainable energy for marine transport) was developed to provide guidelines, enhance practical applicability and maximise usefulness of the findings to both researchers and industry practitioners
Exploitation Route Building on the findings gained from the case studies and heat utilisation technologies, a number postgraduate studies are currently in place focusing on these topics. Following the establishment of strong links between SusTEM Network members, collaborations have been further extended in which numerous proposals have been prepared and submitted, for example, the H-DisNET project recently funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 funding stream and two EPSRC proposals (Carbon-Based Nanomaterials to Improve and Enhance Heat and Mass Transfer for Thermochemical Sorption Energy Storage Applications (CBN-TSES) and Advanced Desiccant Thermal-Fluids for Enhanced Industrial Waste Heat Utilisation (ADDITION)) which are currently under review
Sectors Construction,Education,Energy,Environment,Transport

Description An industry forum was run not only to engage with industry stakeholders directly but also to influence future directions of relevant technologies and the business. The keynote speeches addressed industrial decarbonisation and energy efficiency roadmaps to 2050, energy transition and business, and the future of industrial parks. Feedback from industry practitioners on barriers to application of innovative technology and their "wish list" for a 5-year agenda was received. By presenting insights into these matters, it has had an impact on the local workforce, in particular young engineers with less experience in the field, and furthermore stimulate their professional development.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

Description Meeting with Arjan Geveke - Assistant Director Energy Policy at Department of Business Innovation & Skills
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a guidance/advisory committee
Description Scientific Advisor to members of the European Parliament specificially Adam Gierek (Committee on Industry, Research and Energy) & Prof Boguslaw Liberadzki (Vice Chair Democratic Left Alliance)
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Description CCS from Industrial clusters and their Supply chains
Amount £1,014,038 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N024567/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2016 
End 06/2019
Description Intelligent Hybrid Thermo-Chemical District Networks
Amount € 2,009,697 (EUR)
Funding ID 695780 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 06/2016 
End 05/2019
Description Thermal Energy Challenge Network (Newcastle)
Amount £303,989 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P005667/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 10/2019
Description EPSRC Energy event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Engagement activities with external industry to facilitate discussion on energy and sustainability activities and potential research collaborations

Further discussions with notable industrial partners resulting in the early establishment of a working group to ensure submission of further research proposals
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
Description SusTEM Industrial Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Feedback on industrial opinion on thermal energy storage solutions and their opinions on the major drivers for industry

Industrial opinion results published on the SusTEM website
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015