Years Active: 2009-2014

Summary

The overall aim of the project was to evaluate industrial energy use and improvement potential (and associated CO2 savings) via bottom-up case studies set within a context of UK industry-wide understanding.

Further Information

The industrial sector in the UK accounts for some 21% of total delivered energy and 29% of carbon emissions. There are large differences between sub-sectors in the end-use applications of energy. A great deal of diversity can be found throughout industry, especially in terms of products manufactured, processes undertaken and technologies employed. They all play a role in determining energy use.

According to Future Energy Solutions (now AEA Energy & Environment) and the Carbon Consortium in their 2005 study of the potential for CO2 reductions, UK industry has been found to consist of some 350 separate combinations of sub-sectors, devices and technologies. Some element of sectoral aggregation is therefore inevitable in order to yield policy-relevant insights.

The overall aim of this project was to evaluate industrial energy use and improvement potential (and associated CO2 savings) via bottom-up case studies set within a context of UK industry-wide understanding. Earlier top-down, UKERC-sponsored research at the University of Bath was used to identify the combinations that might yield the greatest improvement potential going forward. Data obtained was collated with the purpose of providing for the modelling needs of UK policy makers (e.g., the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), at DECC and the Environment Agency).

Specific objectives were:

  • To provide a bottom-up assessment of the energy improvement potential and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in a range of important UK industrial sub-sectors, based on engineering or ‘lumped parameter’ approaches, and differentiating between ‘traded’ and non-traded sector emissions;
  • To set this data in the context of an industry-wide, top-down evaluation of the overall improvement potential of UK industry (under UKERC I and related studies at Bath) with ‘soft-linking’ to the UKERC Energy Systems Theme;
  • To disaggregate the energy and CO2 implications of the studied sub-sectors;
  • To provide information in support of the industrial modelling needs of UK policy makers, including the potential impact of fuel switching, particularly to potentially low carbon energy carriers, notably electricity, as well as the identification of difficult sectors/processes and areas where investment could be targeted most effectively.

The consortium aggregated the bottom-up results in the form of a usable energy database. This provides a basis for estimating the potential to reduce energy use in UK industry in the near-term (2015-2020). The industry sector of the UK MARKAL model was also revamped, and the updated model was used to estimate the industrial sector’s role in low UK CO2 budgets.

The project has provided an indicative assessment for UK policy makers of the potential for technological innovation in the various UK industrial sub-sectors out to 2050, including fuel switching. A variety of mechanisms were employed to disseminate the findings more widely: academic publications, seminars, summer schools (including the annual UKERC Summer School for young researchers) and specialist meetings.

The team consisted of the University of Bath, the University of Oxford, the UCL Energy Institute and the Environment Agency.