Cork Institute of Technology’s (CIT) renowned Nimbus Centre will lead a new EU funded research project to deliver energy-efficiency in the manufacturing sector, which aims to accelerate the digital transformation of manufacturing processes to enable significant reduction of energy consumption.
Dr Alan McGibney and Dr Susan Rea have been awarded a project valued over €11 million from the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Technologies for Factories of the Future programme.
The programme is a four year initiative to address the need for energy-efficient manufacturing system management.
A quarter of Europe’s total energy consumption can be attributed to the industrial sector, with the pressing need to tackle climate change it is essential that this number is reduced dramatically.
The easiest way to reduce energy is to shut everything down, however industry must continue to meet the demands of consumers and produce products.
Therefore, industry must leverage advanced technology to manage resources and processes more effectively and ensure energy efficiency is an integral part of the manufacturing decision processes.
“In order to save energy you first need to know how and where it is being consumed,” explained project lead Dr McGibney.
“At home you might look at your electricity smart meter or heating bill, however in an industrial setting there are many factors that impact energy consumption and getting a full view of these remains a major challenge.
“Digital technologies will play a significant role by providing the ability to automatically monitor and optimise energy usage, while also informing users on the environmental and economic impact of decisions made at all stages of the manufacturing process,” he added.
“The DENiM project views education, awareness and upskilling as an essential component to allow all workers understand their collective responsibility in addressing energy efficiency,” said Dr Rea, DENiM project co-lead.
The project includes a consortium of 18 partner organisations led by Cork Institute of Technology bringing together a strong team of partners across eight European countries.
Dr Sergio Ceballos, National Contact Point for the Horizon 2020 Manufacturing programme in Enterprise Ireland, said:
“DENiM is the first Irish led Innovation action funded in the Factories of the Future programme and scored fifth across Europe out of 83 proposals submitted.
“It shows how national investment in manufacturing research leverages success in international projects for the benefit of the Irish and European industry.”