Projects - Waste Energy Recovery Within Manufacturing

Research Area:
Eco-Intelligent Manufacturing

2012 - 2015

Funding Source:
Loughborough University PhD Scholarship

4 years


SMART Members:
Shahin Rahimifard , Yang Luo


Summary: The overall objective of this PhD study is to gain an understanding of the availability of waste energy from manufacturing processes and to develop software based decision support tool to enable manufacturers to implement the most appropriate energy recovery strategies and technologies.

Project Description: Energy is an inextricable part of life in 21st Century and as such has become a significant concern for governments, industry and the public because of the increasing level of consumption, depletion of resources, its contribution to climate change and the slow development of alternative renewable technologies. Energy demand is expected to continue to increase over the coming decades, with demand estimated to be more than 50% higher in 2030 when compared to today’s levels (IEA, 2006). Despite the growth in low-carbon sources of energy, fossil fuels remain dominant in the global energy mix.

For reducing reliance of fossil resources, two major approaches have been considered, use of renewable energy and reduction in energy consumption. The development of renewable energy technologies has been relatively slow and is considered a costly option. The more cost effective solution is to reduce energy demand, which can be further divided into three options, (1) reduction in activity, (2) improvement energy efficiency and (3) use of recovered energy. The first two options are considered to be proactive approach whist the last option is classed as a reactive approach.

For the manufacturing industry, a reduction in activity is not an ideal solution as manufacturing activities are driven by make – sell business models and would thus impact profitability. Lots of research activities have been sought to improve energy efficiency, but have not been hugely successful, requires time, effort and expenditure. Energy recovery is however very under developed, therefore the focus of this research is put on this reactive approach.


Project Highlights:

1.    To report current energy recovery technologies and research.

2.    Develop a tool (most probably streamlined Sankey diagram) to accurately establish available energy components from manufacturing processes.

3.    Establish a methodology to assign a measure of  energy quality value to available energy components.

4.    Creation of a software based decision support tool to select most appropriate energy recovery technologies.

5.    Validation of framework on an industrial case study.

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