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Landscapes for Energy Category: Environmental, social and economic impacts
ENERGY EFFICIENCY Section 2 Capabilities Assessment
 Author  Prof Geoff Hammond
University of Bath
 Last Updated  14 May 2009
 Status  Peer reviewed document
 Download Landscape  PDF 382 KB

 
Section :

Table 2.1: UK Capabilities

The UK engineering and science communities are well placed to make significant innovations in terms of both the understanding of industrial processes and the development of novel techniques. Some of these are identified in other sections of the Atlas, for example under various aspects of the ‘Demand Reduction’, ‘Future Sources of Energy’, and ‘Materials for Advanced Energy Systems’ Themes. Mechanical engineers could potentially be at the centre of the  drive towards greater thermodynamic efficiency of energy systems, but the UK has fallen behind its Continental European and North American counterparts in this regard. By contrast, British chemical engineers (a rather smaller community) have been internationally active in devising both new processes and methods for improving process performance. Expertise in some of the other fundamental sciences of industrial relevance, such as combustion, fluid dynamics and heat transfer processes, is high. Likewise the materials science and engineering communities are well placed to develop novel materials that could withstand high temperature or corrosive environments, and that can be produced by way of energy efficient and environmentally benign methods. The attention of electrical engineers since the 1970s has been concentrated on electrical power generation and distribution, rather than its industrial end-uses like electric motors and lighting systems. Major strides have obviously been made in the electronic equipment and information technology areas, which contribute to reducing industrial energy intensity. There are significant economic and organisational barriers to the achievement of technical improvements aimed at producing a low energy and low carbon economy. Here the social sciences have a major role to play, and the UK is quite well placed in contributing towards their application in industry. But more needs to be done in terms of encouraging them to address energy issues in an industrial context.

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Table 2.1: UK Capabilities

     
 UK Capability  Area  Market potential
High Combustion systems
Advanced materials
Process integration
Process intensification
Global
Global
Global
Global
Medium Compressed air plant
High performance electric motors
High temperature processes
Separation processes
Thermodynamics of power and process plant
Thermal insulation systems
Industrial combined heat & power (CHP) systems for industrial processes
Improved industrial monitoring and control
Action research in professional practice
Agile or lean manufacturing methods
Global
Global
Global
Global
Global
Global
European
European
Global
Global
Low Factor X improvements in resource productivity Global

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