Optimising Energy Management in Industry - 'OPTEMIN'

Lead Research Organisation: Brunel University
Department Name: Institute of Energy Futures


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%.

Planned Impact

Industrial energy use in the UK represents 20-25% of total greenhouse gas emissions. It is acknowledged that these emissions can be reduced by improving further the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes, the maximisation of energy recovery from waste and waste heat streams and improved overall industrial site energy integration and management. These changes will be enabled by technological innovations, cost reductions, and innovations in business models and policies that encourage and incentivise the adoption of new technologies and energy demand reduction measures.
The proposed research will optimise energy management in industry through the investigation, development and demonstration in collaboration with industry partners a new generation of innovative energy recovery and conversion technologies from waste and waste heat streams and optimum integration and management of these technologies to achieve energy demand reduction and emissions of the order of 10-15%. This will be achieved by: i) understanding the interrelationships and interactions between energy consuming processes and the different energy carriers in industrial and manufacturing sites through large data capture, classification, storage and retrieval, ii) the development of tools for the design of innovative energy recovery and conversion technologies and their optimum integration within existing industrial sites, iii) evaluation of the economic and environmental performance of these technologies; iv) the development of business models and data that can be used by decision makers at company level and policy makers to encourage and incentivise the adoption of energy demand reduction measures and technologies.
The new technology design and energy management tools and control algorithms that will be developed and demonstrated will benefit technology manufacturers and large industrial energy users. In the initial stages principal beneficiaries will be the industrial partners which include very large energy users from the Iron and Steel and Food and Drink manufacturing sectors, TATA Steel and Faccenda Foods, and innovative technology manufacturers, Spirax Sarco, Enogia SAS and Eonotherm Ltd. These innovations will, however, not only be applicable to the Iron and Steel and F&D sectors but also all other energy intensive sectors such as the Petrochemical, Pharmaceutical, Cement and Pulp and Paper which offer significant potential for waste and waste heat to energy conversion. In industrial thermal processes 30-50% of energy input is wasted through different waste heat streams. Recovery and conversion or upgrading some of this heat through the innovative heat recovery and conversion systems is expected to reduce energy demand by 10-15%, assuming a conversion efficiency of 50% and result in return on investment of between 2-5 years.
The reduction of carbon emissions will enable the Government and industry to move closer to the decarbonisation targets set for 2050 and beyond and project outcomes will contribute to Government decarbonisation policies and action plans. At the same time, the energy intensive industries will benefit from lower energy costs and increased competitiveness which should lead to lower final product costs and improved employment opportunities from which the general public will benefit. Technology manufacturing companies will also benefit from the rapidly rising global heat recovery and power generation market which is expected to reach $53.12 billion by 2018.


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Description OPTEMIN Project 
Organisation TATA Steel
Country India 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Analysis of data and advice on energy savings
Collaborator Contribution Staff time and data
Impact Project on-going.
Start Year 2017
Description LoCITY 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact London auxTRU project introduction
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017