Publications

  • Industrial waste heat recovery: A systematic approach 2018, Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments.

    Abstract

    Globally one third of energy consumption is attributable to the industrial sector, with up to fifty percent ultimately wasted as heat. Unlike material waste that is clearly visible, waste heat (WHE) can be difficult to identify and evaluate both in terms of quantity and quality. Hence by being able to understand the availability of waste heat energy, and the ability to recover, there is an opportunity to reduce industrial energy costs and associated environmental impacts. A waste heat energy recovery framework is developed to provide manufacturers with a four step methodology in assessing production activities in facilities, analysing the compatibility of waste heat source(s) and sink(s) in terms of exergy balance and temporal availability, selecting appropriate heat recovery technologies and decision support based on economic benefits. The economic opportunity for industrial energy recovery is demonstrated in an industrial case study. The applicability of the framework for wider industrial application is discussed.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley

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  • Abstract

    The food sector is increasingly facing significant challenges throughout the supply chain to become more resource efficient. In this context, three critical areas of focus are the reduction of food waste, energy, and water consumption. One of the key factors identified as an obstacle to improving resource efficiency is the lack of suitable capabilities to collect, exchange and share real-time data among various stakeholders. Having such capabilities would provide improved awareness and visibility of resource use and help make better decisions that drive overall productivity of the supply chain. The principle concept of the ‘Internet of Things' (IoT) has been used in several applications to improve overall monitoring, planning, and management of supply chain activities. This paper explores the feasibility of adopting such IoT concepts to improve the resource efficiency of food supply chains. An IoTbased framework is proposed to support the incorporation of relevant data into supply chain decision-making models for the reduction of food waste, energy and water consumption.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Sandeep Jagtap

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  • Abstract

    Increasing pressures on freshwater supplies, continuity of supply uncertainties, and costs linked to legislative compliance, such as for wastewater treatment, are driving water use reduction up the agenda of manufacturing businesses. A survey is presented of current analysis methods and tools generally available to industry to analyze environmental impact of, and to manage, water use. These include life cycle analysis, water footprinting, strategic planning, water auditing, and process integration. It is identified that the methods surveyed do not provide insight into the operational requirements from individual process steps for water, instead taking such requirements as a given. We argue that such understanding is required for a proactive approach to long-term water usage reduction, in which sustainability is taken into account at the design stage for both process and product. As a first step to achieving this, we propose a concept of water usage efficiency which can be used to evaluate current and proposed processes and products. Three measures of efficiency are defined, supported by a framework of a detailed categorization and representation of water flows within a production system. The calculation of the efficiency measures is illustrated using the example of a tomato sauce production line. Finally, the elements required to create a useable tool based on the efficiency measures are discussed

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Patrick Webb

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  • A Methodology for Sustainable Management of Food Waste 2016, Waste and Biomass Valorization

    Abstract

    DOI 10.1007/s12649-016-9720-0

    As much as one-third of the food intentionally grown for human consumption is never consumed and is therefore wasted, with significant environmental, social and economic ramifications. An increasing number of publications in this area currently consider different aspects of this critical issue, and generally focus on proactive approaches to reduce food waste, or reactive solutions for more efficient waste management. In this context, this paper takes a holistic approach with the aim of achieving a better understanding of the different types of food waste, and using this knowledge to support informed decisions for more sustainable management of food waste. With this aim, existing food waste categorizations are reviewed and their usefulness are analysed. A systematic methodology to identify types of food waste through a nine-stage categorization is used in conjunction with a version of the waste hierarchy applied to food products. For each type of food waste characterized, a set of waste management alternatives are suggested in order to minimize environmental impacts and maximize social and economic benefits. This decision-support process is demonstrated for two case studies from the UK food manufacturing sector. As a result, types of food waste which could be managed in a more sustainable manner are identified and recommendations are given. The applicability of the categorisation process for industrial food waste management is discussed.

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/22695

     

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García

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  • Pickering Particles Prepared from Food Waste 2016, Materials, Special Issue Pickering Emulsion and Derived Materials

    Abstract

    In this paper, we demonstrate the functionality and functionalisation of waste particles as an emulsifier for oil-in-water (o/w) and water-in-oil (w/o) emulsions. Ground coffee waste was chosen as a candidate waste material due to its naturally high content of lignin, a chemical component imparting emulsifying ability. The waste coffee particles readily stabilised o/w emulsions and following hydrothermal treatment adapted from the bioenergy field they also stabilised w/o emulsions. The hydrothermal treatment relocated the lignin component of the cell walls within the coffee particles onto the particle surface thereby increasing the surface hydrophobicity of the particles as demonstrated by an emulsion assay. Emulsion droplet sizes were comparable to those found in processed foods in the case of hydrophilic waste coffee particles stabilizing o/w emulsions. These emulsions were stable against coalescence for at least 12 weeks, flocculated but stable against coalescence in shear and stable to pasteurisation conditions (10 min at 80 °C). Emulsion droplet size was also insensitive to pH of the aqueous phase during preparation (pH 3–pH 9). Stable against coalescence, the water droplets in w/o emulsions prepared with hydrothermally treated waste coffee particles were considerably larger and microscopic examination showed evidence of arrested coalescence indicative of particle jamming at the surface of the emulsion droplets. Refinement of the hydrothermal treatment and broadening out to other lignin-rich plant or plant based food waste material are promising routes to bring closer the development of commercially relevant lignin based food Pickering particles applicable to emulsion based processed foods ranging from fat continuous spreads and fillings to salad dressings.

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/22731

    SMART authors: Guillermo García García

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  • Abstract

    The production and use of energy accounts for around 60% of global greenhouse gas (GHG)
     emissions, providing an intrinsic link between cause and effect. Considering that the manufacturing
     industry is responsible for roughly one-third of the global energy demand enforces the need to ensure
     that the manufacturing sector continually strives to reduce its reliance on energy and thus minimise
     GHG released into the atmosphere. Consequently, efficient management of energy consumption is of
     paramount importance for modern manufacturing businesses due to well-documented negative
     impact regarding energy generation from fossil fuels and rapidly rising worldwide energy costs. This
     has resulted in a proliferation of research in this area which has considered improvements in energy
     consuming activities at the enterprise, facility, cell, machine and turret levels. However, there is now a
     need to go beyond incremental energy efficiency improvements and take more radical approaches to
     reduce energy consumption. It is argued that the largest energy reduction improvements can be
     achieved through better design of production systems or by adopting new business strategies that
     reduce the reliance of manufacturing businesses on resource consumption. This chapter initially
     provides a review of research in energy management (EM) at various manufacturing focus levels. The
     inappropriateness of current methods to cater for transformative and radical energy reduction
     approaches is discussed. In particular, limitations are found at the business strategy level since no
     technique exists to consider the input of these high level decisions on energy consumption. The main
     part of the chapter identifies areas of further opportunity in energy management research, and
     describes a method to facilitate further reductions in energy use and GHG production in
     manufacturing at the business strategy level.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley

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  • Abstract

    Resource efficiency is recognized as one of the greatest sustainability challenges facing the manufacturing industry in the future. Materials are a resource of primary importance, making a significant contribution to the economic costs and environmental impacts of production. During the manufacturing phase the majority of resource efficiency initiatives and management methodologies have been concerned primarily with improvements measured on an economic basis. More recently, the need for even greater levels of resource efficiency has extended the scope of these initiatives to consider complete manufacturing and industrial systems at an economic and environmental level. The flow of materials at each system level relates directly to material efficiency, which in turn influences the consumption of other resources such as water and energy. Initial research by the authors in material efficiency focused on material flow, proposing a material flow assessment approach, comprising a systematic framework for the analysis of quantitative and qualitative flow in manufacturing systems. The framework was designed to provide greater understanding of material flow through identification of strengths, weaknesses, constraints and opportunities for improvement, facilitating the implementation of improvement measures for greater efficiency in both environmental and economic terms. This paper presents an extension of this work, applying the material flow assessment framework to a complex multi-product and multi-site manufacturing system scenario. It begins with a description of the Resource Efficient Scheduling (RES) tool that supports the implementation of this framework. The tool models the interactions of quantitative and qualitative material flow factors associated with production planning and the resulting impacts on resource efficiency. This provides a more detailed understanding of the economic and resource impacts of different production plans, enabling greater flexibility and the ability to make better informed decisions. Finally a case study is presented, highlighting the application of the tool and its potential benefits.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , James Colwill , Alessandro Simeone , Oliver Gould

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  • Abstract

    The ability to feed 9 billion people by 2050 will rely on processed foods being delivered through complex and dispersed international supply chains. Currently as much as a third of all food grown is lost as waste at various points along existing supply chains, with roughly half of food waste in the developed world occurring after purchase by the end consumer. For the long-term resilience of the food industry, and as holders of critical information, manufacturers need to play a part in reducing this waste. Using a novel method of food waste categorization, this research describes how the prevention of food waste for certain categories can be facilitated using a Smart Phone App that enables industrial inventory management for the domestic environment, providing the consumer with supporting information about food condition and appropriate preparation processes. Data availability issues and the benefits in terms of resource efficiency and consumer loyalty are discussed.

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/19396

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García

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  • Abstract

    Food supply chains face a number of unique vulnerabilities
    compared to other supply chains and there is concern that, as
    operating environment volatility increases, current “lean”
    supply chain management strategies may no longer be fit for
    purpose. There is a need to manage food supply chains in
    such a way that a return to the original state, or preferably an
    improved state, after being disturbed is possible. However,
    whilst the literature reveals a relatively large amount of work
    on resilience in supply chain management, there is poor
    consensus over how to define and implement a system of
    resilience, particularly one which takes into account food
    specific vulnerabilities. In response, this paper explores the
    current complexity of food supply chains, highlighting key
    dependencies, failure modes and key performance indicators.
    It then examines the interdependencies between capabilities
    and vulnerabilities in allowing balanced resilience and
    presents a framework to bring together and aid understanding
    of these factors across food supply chains.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Jamie Stone

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  • A Framework for a More Efficient Approach to Food Waste Management 2015, International Journal of Food Engineering

    Abstract

    A considerable amount of waste is generated in the food supply chains of both developing and developed countries. In an increasingly resource constrained world, it is imperative to reduce the high environmental, social and economic impacts associated with this type of waste. This necessitates the development and implementation of improved, targeted management practices. This paper discusses the various definitions and categorizations of food waste according to different international organizations, reviews the most up-to-date data on waste generated in the food supply chains as well as its environmental impact and assess the applicability of current waste management options. This analysis provides the basis for the development of a framework for increasing the effectiveness of food waste management practices through structured assessment and better informed selection of waste management methodologies for each food waste category. The usability of this novel framework is discussed.

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/18195

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García

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  • A Framework for Material Flow Assessment In Manufacturing Systems 2015, Journal of Industrial and Production Engineering

    Abstract

    Improving material efficiency is widely accepted as one of the key challenges facing manufacturers in the future. Increasing material consumption is having detrimental impacts on the environment as a result of their extraction, processing and disposal. It is clear that radical improvements in material efficiency are required to avoid further environmental damage and sustain the manufacturing sector. Current resource management approaches are predominantly used to improve material consumption solely in economic terms. Meanwhile, environmental assessment methodologies can determine sources of significant environmental impact related to a product; however, a methodology to effectively assess material efficiency in production systems is currently not available. This paper highlights the benefits of material flow modelling within manufacturing systems to support advances in increased material efficiency, proposing a framework for ‘material flow assessment in manufacturing’ that promotes greater understanding of material flow and flexibility to explore innovative options for improvement.

    SMART authors: James Colwill , Oliver Gould

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  • Abstract

    Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans at 30 °C and Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans at 47 °C were selected from a preliminary screening of various acidophiles for their ferric iron reduction capacities during anaerobic, autotrophic growth on sulfur. The selected cultures were used with a polymetallic sulfide ore under anoxic conditions to demonstrate enhanced solubilization of iron during leaching in shaken flasks and enhanced removal of iron from laboratory ore-leaching columns, compared to leaching with continuous aeration. Ore-associated, ferric iron-rich precipitates, which were formed under previously oxidizing conditions, were a potential influence on extraction of target metals and percolation through ore columns and were available as the source of ferric iron for anaerobic sulfur oxidation. Over twice as much iron was removed by moderate thermophiles when anoxic phases were introduced during the leaching. Enhanced removal of iron and some improvement in extraction of base metals from ore fragments were also demonstrated with a selected “Sulfolobus”-like strain during growth and leaching with alternating periods of aeration and anoxic conditions at 70 °C.

    SMART authors: Oliver Gould

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  • Incorporating Value Assessment in Sustainable Product Design Tools 2014, Gulf Research Meeting: Workshop 13: Addressing the Sustainability Agenda in the Gulf Region

    Abstract

    Sustainability encompasses three elements; economic, social and environmental. Sustainable development aims to reduce impacts of all three elements. Currently, there are a number of tools for assessing products’ sustainable impact and improving their performances. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is one of the more commonly used tools for such purpose. LCA is used for assessing environmental impacts associated with all the phases of a product's life from cradle-to-grave (raw material extraction, manufacturing, distribution, use, and end-of-life). Similar tools were developed to assess economic and social impacts, such as life cycle costing (LCC) and Social-LCA (S-LCA).

    However, these tools compare products on the basis of shared functionality (A functional Unit), for example when comparing a pen and a pencil a functional unit that prescribes ‘the drawing of a line 20km in length’, will have to ignore other non-shared functions such as permanence, fragility, etc. As the corresponding shared functionality decreases, so the validity of any comparison becomes weaker, such as the comparison between a horse and a car as a mode of transport. Furthermore, while sustainability improvements can be achieved using these tools; they are generally limited to reducing the negative impacts and optimising efficiencies at each stage of the life cycle and ignore the potential benefits of increased functionality and positive benefits.

    This paper proposes that a fairer and more accurate assessment of a product would include its positive impacts ‘value’ at an individual and societal level. Furthermore, consider the ‘value’ of a product as well as its environmental, social and economic impacts would provide a much fairer basis on which to allocate resources in a resource constrained future where difficult decisions will inevitably have to be made.

    This research has particular relevance in supporting strategic planning decisions aimed at increasing future resilience in manufacturing companies. At present, sustainable assessing tools offer little or none in value assessment, particularly during the use phase of products. The research presented in this paper indicates that the measurement and assessment of these positive benefits will be a key decision factor in a resource critical future, where decisions will be made based on the inherent value of products, providing a more socially equitable and responsible way of distributing resources. This paper reports specifically on the addition of this value consideration in product assessment within the UK toy industry, however it is clear that these findings have a broader significance across all manufacturing industries and geographic regions. 

     

    SMART authors: James Colwill , Kei Lok Felix Shin

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  • Rare Earth Elements - A Barrier to Renewable Energy Generation 2014, Gulf Research Meeting: Workshop 13: Addressing the Sustainability Agenda in the Gulf Region

    Abstract

    As global demand for petrochemical products increases and competes for finite oil resources currently exploited as an energy source, the need for the energy mix to include renewable generation is ever more acute. Naturally abundant solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energy can be used to generate electricity using renewable technologies; however, a major barrier to this is the availability of materials required to manufacture. One group of metals, commonly known as Rare Earth Elements (REE) are frequently contained as functional materials in renewable technologies including solar cells. A reliable and sustainable supply of REE is therefore critical for renewable energy generation.

    REE comprise seventeen chemical elements, the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium. Despite their name, rare earth elements are abundant in the Earth's crust; however, REE are typically widely dispersed and found in low concentrations that are not economically exploitable. Global demand for REE is increasing exponentially due to their use in a plethora of consumables and industrial applications together with increasing demand from rapidly industrialising countries. Current uses for REE include: permanent magnets, batteries, catalysts, computer memory and lighting to name but a fraction. Global supply of REE originates from very few countries, mainly China,  who provide over 90% of the global supply and have recently implemented export restrictions including quotas and taxes. Many factors currently limit the supply of REE. Environmentally damaging extraction processes combined with competition for land-use mean that there are many restrictions on mining operations around the world. As relatively high-grade deposits become exhausted and lower-grade deposits are exploited, the energy demand for extraction increases. Sometimes REE are deposited as trace elements within other commercially extracted minerals; here the REE are a commercial by-product of the primary ore extraction. Therefore, the supply of REE extracted in this manner fluctuates depending upon extraction of the primary ore. Long lead-times to set up new mining operations mean that increased REE demand cannot be quickly met, leading to a significant time-lag between variation in demand and the reaction of supply. Global demand is growing but supplies are not guaranteed therefore prices are rising sharply and will continue do so. There is rarely a simple substitution of REE for another material. Less than 1% of REE are currently recycled. Recycling REE reduces consumption of energy, chemicals and reduces emissions in the primary processing chain. Most recycling processes have a high net-benefit concerning air emissions, groundwater protection, acidification, eutrophication and climate protection. A more efficient option than recycling is the remanufacture of components and products that contain REE. This research investigates the current and future use of REE and their application in technologies such as renewable energies. The aim is to facilitate a sustainable supply of REE for manufacturers through the use of strategies such as the reuse, refurbishment, remanufacture and recycling of components and materials.

    SMART authors: James Colwill , Liam Gardner

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  • Extending the Boundaries of Energy Management for Assessing Manufacturing Business Strategies 2013, Proceedings of the 11th Global Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing- Innovative Solutions

    Abstract

    Manufacturers are responsible for about one third of global energy demand, and thus have a responsibility for reducing their reliance on rapidly depleting non-renewable energy sources. Consequently, a plethora of research has arisen to develop novel ways of improving energy efficiency in factories by focusing on changes to energy intensive production processes and other energy using systems that support manufacturing activities. However, the ultimate goal of manufacturing companies is to maximise profit by refining their business strategy, highlighting the importance of assessing the impact of different business strategies on energy demand. Therefore, one of the key research challenges is to assign anticipated energy demand to various decisions within a business. This paper presents a hierarchical approach to attribute the potential energy demand of manufacturing activities to alternative business decisions, thus informing selection of the most energy efficient business strategies. 

     

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Leila Sheldrick

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  • Simulation of Energy Consumption in the Manufacture of a Product 2013, International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing

    Abstract

    Energy rationalisation, the elimination of unnecessary energy consumption, is becoming increasingly important in a resource constrained world. The use of energy is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and much research has been done to reduce energy use in manufacturing. So as to enable the rationalisation of energy consumption, it is essential that it is understood where energy is being used. This paper describes the design and implementation of a simulation model that has been generated to support the modelling of energy consumption within manufacturing systems. The simulation model allows various ‘what-if’ scenarios to be investigated thereby enabling engineers to understand the impact of various manufacturing parameters on energy consumption and thus reduce reliance on energy and the production of greenhouse gas emissions.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley

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  • Impact of the use of Renewable Materials on the Eco-Efficiency of Manufacturing Processes 2013, Journal of plastics, rubber and composites: Macromolecular Engineering

    Abstract

    The use of renewable materials has attracted interest from a wide range of manufacturing industries looking to reduce their environmental and carbon footprints. As such, the development and use of biopolymers has been largely driven by their perceived environmental benefits over conventional polymers. However, often these environmental claims, when challenged, are lacking in substance. One reason for this is the lack of quality data for all life cycle stages. This applies to the manufacturing stages of packaging, otherwise known as ‘packaging conversion’, where for certain product/production types, a reduction in energy consumption of 25–30% from lower processing temperatures can be offset by an increase in pressure, cycle times and reject rates. The ambiguity of the overall environmental benefit achieved during this stage of the life cycle, when this is the main driver for their use, highlights the need for a clearer understanding of impact that such materials have on the manufacturing processes.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , James Colwill

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  • Bio-plastics in the Context of Competing Demands on Agricultural Land in 2050 2012, International Journal of Sustainable Engineering

    Abstract

    Recent trends in the bio-plastics industry indicate a rapid shift towards the use of bio-derived conventional plastics such as polyethylene (bio-PE). Whereas historically a significant driver for bio-plastics development has been their biodegradability, the adoption of plastics such as bio-PE is driven by the renewability of the raw materials from which they are produced. The production of these renewable resources requires the use of agricultural land, which is limited in its availability. Land is also an essential requirement for food production and is becoming increasingly important for fuel production. The research presented in this paper envisages a situation, in the year 2050, where all plastics and liquid fuels are produced from renewable resources. Through the development of different consumption and productivity scenarios, projected using current and historic data, the feasibility of meeting global demands for food, liquid fuels and plastics is investigated, based on total agricultural land availability. A range of results, comparing low-to-high consumption with low-to-high productivity, are reported. However, it is from the analysis of the mid-point scenario combinations, where consumption and productivity are both moderate, that the most significant conclusions can be drawn. It is clear that while bio-plastics offer attractive opportunities for the use of renewable materials, development activities to 2050 should continue to focus on the search for alternative feed stocks that do not compete with food production, and should prioritise the efficient use of materials through good design and effective end-of-life management.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , James Colwill

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  • Reduction of Water Consumption Within Manufacturing Applications 2012, 19th CIRP International Conference on Life Cycle Engineering (LCE12)

    Abstract

    The freshwater consumption within domestic, agricultural, and industrial sectors has significantly increased over the last two decades, resulting in severe shortages particularly in many arid regions. The manufacturing industry consumes between 20-40% of annual freshwater abstracted in various developed countries. The challenges in efficient use of water are exacerbated by lack of transparency in water usage and waste management in majority of existing manufacturing applications, in particular within SMEs. This paper outlines an integrated methodology for systematic modelling of water consumption within manufacturing applications, and describes a simulation tool developed to improve water usage efficiency.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Madhu Sachidananda

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  • Minimisation of Energy Consumption Within Manufacturing Systems 2010, Proceedings of the 43rd CIRP International Conference on Manufacturing Systems 2010: Sustainable Production and Logistics in Global Networks

    Abstract

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Chitosan as a Finishing Agent for Shoe Upper Leather 2007, Proceedings of the XXIX IULTCS Congress

    Abstract

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Abstract

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Production Responsive Demand Management Within the Food Industry 2004, Proceedings of the International IFAC Conference on Manufacturing Modelling, Management And Control (IFAC-MIM'04)

    Abstract

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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