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Phase one IEEA projects announced

Claire Perry and Tom Delay

Minerals sector to benefit from UK government-backed investment into innovative energy-efficiency technologies

A NUMBER of mineral products companies and organizations will be participating in two out of the seven innovative energy-efficiency projects that have been selected to receive investment through the first phase of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA).

The seven projects, which will aim to demonstrate the application of novel technologies to reduce energy consumption in British industry, will receive a share of £2.7 million in government funding, leveraging more than £3 million in additional private sector investment.

The IEEA is a £9.2 million programme managed by the Carbon Trust and supported by engineering consultancy Jacobs. The second phase of the programme launches on 1 February 2019 and will run for three months.

The IEEA aims to increase the number of technologies available to British industry to help reduce energy consumption and cut carbon emissions. This intervention is designed to strengthen the global competitiveness of UK industry in sectors including manufacturing, waste processing and data centres.

Government funding has been provided to overcome the risks traditionally associated with deploying new technologies, such as, the disruption of production lines, capital constraints, lack of evidence for a business case, and prioritization of core business activities over energy efficiency improvements.

Energy represents a significant cost for UK industry, accounting for 17% of final energy consumption, and is responsible for around one-fifth of total UK carbon emissions. Over time, the IEEA is designed to unlock more than £300 million of private sector investment into energy-saving technologies, delivering lifetime energy savings in excess of £1 billion.

Following an extensive engagement process with industry and technology developers, where more than 100 technology ideas were screened, seven successful phase one applications have today been announced. They include:

  • Low-carbon multi-component cements for UK concrete applications, led by the Mineral Products Association (MPA) alongside industrial partners Hanson Cement, Forterra Building Products, and Building Research Establishment (BRE). The MPA has identified that low-carbon multi-component cements have the potential to replace traditional cements in some UK construction applications. Using a combination of limestone, waste and by-products, the quantities of these materials can be increased, reducing the need for energy-intensive cement clinker production. The project is formulating, developing and testing the new cements ready for the UK market. It is estimated that there could be potential carbon emission savings of 8% across the UK’s cement sector, which currently emits around 7.8 million tonnes of CO2 annually. Additionally, some of these new cements have carbon-emission profiles 40% lower than conventional alternatives.
  • PRISMA Energy Storage (Peak Reduction by Integrated Storage and Management of Air), led by Innovatium alongside industrial partners Aggregate Industries and research partners Birmingham University. Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES) has considerable potential for storing energy, which helps increased deployment of intermittent renewable energy sources. PRISMA is a unique new application for LAES in which liquid air is released to provide compressed air to an industrial site. This allows the use of smaller compressors to work more efficiently, operating at times when electricity generation is lower carbon. The project has the potential to deliver estimated electrical energy savings of around 30% through reduced compressor operation, whilst also providing the ability to avoid higher tariff periods.

All the projects have been selected based on energy-saving potential and scalability, with particular focus on technologies that can be deployed across multiple industrial sectors.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: ‘We want to make sure businesses take advantage of clean growth by making the most of the assets that they have. That is why we are investing in innovative technologies that can help British industry use less energy, reduce their costs and cut emissions as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.’

Paul Huggins, director of innovation at the Carbon Trust, commented: ‘Throughout the first phase of the BEIS IEEA we have been really impressed by the high level of response from technology developers and industrial companies who want to actively engage in accelerating energy efficiency across a range of sectors.

‘Technology innovation can play an important role in helping UK industry to cut energy use, which not only brings a competitive advantage, but also reduces carbon emissions. Through the IEEA, we have worked collaboratively with trade associations, industry and technology providers to identify and demonstrate the best innovative opportunities for energy reduction, and we look forward to seeing the novel solutions that will be supported through the second phase of the programme.’

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