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New wave of cutting-edge technologies supported by UK Government show potential to significantly cut carbon and costs for industry

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New wave of cutting-edge technologies supported by UK Government show potential to significantly cut carbon and costs for industry

New wave of cutting-edge technologies supported by UK Government show potential to significantly cut carbon and  costs for industry
December 08
09:54 2021
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The UK Government-funded BEIS Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) has released the results from the initial phases of the programme, which suggest that from the 16 innovation demonstration cross-sector projects supported, up to 40.5TWh of energy could be saved by 2031 if the technologies are adopted. This translates into a cumulative carbon saving over the next ten years of 10Mt CO2e, the equivalent of powering 12% of the UK’s electricity consumption for one year (2019), thus, supporting the UK’s target of achieving Net Zero by 2050.

Industry is a major source of carbon emissions, contributing 15% (78Mt CO2e)1 of the UK’s total emissions, the third-largest carbon contributor after energy production and transport. The rapid decarbonisation of industry is therefore a critical component of the UK’s Government Net Zero Strategy. Energy efficiency measures in industrial processes, such as those inherent to these funded technologies, bring down energy demand and reduce costs across the system while improving the competitiveness of UK industry.

These 16 technologies alone have the potential to reduce UK industrial emissions by 1%, which highlights the enormous emissions reduction opportunity that remains to be tapped by the deployment of many other industrial efficiency technologies in the UK innovation pipeline.

However, the pace of industry adoption for promising technologies can be slowed, due to the lack of data and evidence available from operational environments. To de-risk these energy efficiency technologies, and stimulate wider adoption by UK’s industry, the UK Government awarded £8.1 million of grant funding in 2017 via the IEEA, leveraging a further £7.6 million from the private sector, to support partnerships between developers and UK-based industrial sites willing to test energy efficiency innovations in their processes. At the time of this release, nine innovations are ready to commercialise for full-scale roll out.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said: “Improving energy efficiency for industry is key to powering the UK’s green industrial revolution and will help us meet our ambitious climate change commitments.

“Made possible with £8 million in government funding, these projects demonstrate how innovative green technologies can reduce energy consumption and bring down costs, providing a welcome boost for industry while supporting our transition to net zero.”

Tom Delay, Chief Executive, the Carbon Trust, added: “Industrial energy efficiency remains vital to achieving the UK’s Net Zero by 2050 target. As the results from the BEIS IEEA demonstrate there is a clear benefit to be gained from collaborative innovation to de-risk near-commercial technologies and encourage the scale-up in industrial sectors that are traditionally risk averse. If the technologies supported so far have the potential to reduce UK industrial emissions by 1%, imagine what can be achieved if we maintain a focus on accelerating the commercialisation of the many other industrial efficiency technologies under development.”

Of note is the Low temperature Ambient pressure Technology (LATTM) separation technology developed by LAT Water, a thermal treatment capable of dealing with complex waste effluents. The technology has been demonstrated at Viridor’s Broadpath landfill site in Devon, where it was able to treat landfill leachate by using on-site residual heat, delivering up to 70% reduction in energy use, compared to conventional treatment. Using LATTM, landfill sites will be able to treat most of the leachate in-situ without having to transport the residues off-site, which alone has the potential to deliver around 50% operational treatment costs savings. The IEEA’s support for the demonstration has helped accelerate commercialisation of the technology, and LAT have to-date sold four units, two in the UK, and two for export.

Tim Rotheray, Director of Innovation and Regulation at Viridor, said: “Without the IEEA, Viridor wouldn’t have been able to explore LAT Water’s cutting-edge technology. Bringing innovation to market is notoriously difficult, but vital if we are to meet decarbonisation targets. The IEEA has helped to bridge the technology ‘valley of death’ from research and development to industry uptake, by supporting commercial-scale pilots that would not happen otherwise and we have really benefited from our
participation.”

Investing in energy efficiency can enhance productivity as well. This is the case with Soniplas, a retro-fit solution for the injection moulding sector developed by Matrix Moulding Systems. This new technology uses ultrasonic energy to temporarily reduce the viscosity of the molten polymer during injection, facilitating lower melt temperatures and faster cooling times. This has reduced the energy consumption by around 25% during the demonstration project carried out at Barkley Plastics Ltd; while simultaneously enhancing productivity by reducing moulding cycle time by up to 20%. Soniplas technology has been awarded the Special Commendation Award, by the British Plastics Federation (BPF), as part of the Horners Awards 2021. Matrix Moulding Systems has also begun to sell Soniplas units in the UK while demonstrating the technology with the IEEA programme.

Pete Tedd, Managing Director, Barkley Plastics Ltd, added: “As demonstration partner and first adopter of the Soniplas technology – which has been tested across a variety of tools and machines, we have seen savings produced which would be highly beneficial both to us and the wider injection moulding industry.”

Andrew Miles, Chief Executive, Matrix Moulding Systems, said: “We are very grateful for the support from the IEEA programme, which has enabled us to accelerate the development of our Soniplas technology to market entry. As UK industry moves to align business impact with Net Zero goals we are seeing huge interest in our system that offers dual benefits of energy savings and productivity improvements.”

Agritec Systems Limited (ASL) has developed and patented a novel solution to process Animal-By-Products (ABP). The ASL system, is capable of transforming unusable animal products from abattoirs into valued outputs – namely protein solids and tallow/oil – by efficiently separating the different components, while using around 75% less energy than traditional rendering methods.

Richard Thornhill, Founder & Technical Director Agritec, commented: “The BEIS IEEA not only helped us build a full-scale plant to demonstrate our technology in action, but also build confidence in our customers to invest in our solution. Beyond the funding we have also been able to draw on a pool of expertise from the Carbon Trust and Jacobs, which has been invaluable as has the profile that has been brought to our innovation.”

The BEIS IEEA is managed by the Carbon Trust with support from Jacobs and KTN. It represents a unique opportunity for UK technology developers to bring their innovations to market, and to prove their technology works at scale in a fully operational setting.

Following the success of the programme, BEIS announced funding for a further phase of the IEEA in October, £8 million has been made available for projects that target resource efficiency and or energy efficiency in industry. Technology developers and industrial companies interested in taking part should visit www.carbontrust.com/ieea.

1 HM Government, UK Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener (October 2021), Table 4: Illustrative total territorial
emissions under the different scenarios

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