RACE for Business

Boosting Business Energy Productivity (via digitalisation, electrification and value chain optimisation)

Theme B1: Value chain optimisation to transform energy productivity (in the delivery of end services )

Theme Summary

Value Chain Analysis (VCA) to identify greatest opportunities to reduce energy waste and create increased value through applying energy more effectively across supply chains.  Systems thinking is key to identify new value potential.
There are large energy, material and productivity losses across stages in supply chains. Using IOT and improved analytical approaches, this project will define key research projects, pre-feasibility studies and proof of concept trials to deliver substantial improvements in energy productivity.   As a key part of this theme, research will be done on energy use by process, and defining efficiency of end services as there is very poor data available in Australia and this is needed for the value chain analysis.

What’s the Industry Problem?

Energy, material and productivity losses between stages in supply chains are generally not visible to the players at each stage of the process, each of which tend to sub-optimise based on their local objectives, without a clear view of the specific ultimate service delivered to the customer. By providing this visibility, insights can be gained about new technologies and business models that could substantially improve energy productivity across chains. 

Expected Impact

Energy, material and productivity losses between stages in supply chains are generally not visible to the players at each stage of the process, each of which tend to sub-optimise based on their local objectives, without a clear view of the specific ultimate service delivered to the customer. By providing this visibility, insights can be gained about new technologies and business models that could substantially improve energy productivity across chains. 

Theme B2: Industry 4.0 for Energy Productivity (incl. IOT, advanced metering/reporting)

Theme Summary

Research on applying Industry 4.0 technologies and business models to lift energy productivity in business. Translate energy management automation and data exchange in industry into practical and achievable transition models and demonstrations.
Develop, document and disseminate best practice examples, case studies and guidelines. Training resources and evaluation of effectiveness of resources and barriers to roll-out.
Also, demonstrating next generation metering monitoring and reporting, including IOT and using AI, and smart reporting which takes in multiple data streams and learns how to optimise systems and implement optimal changes.

What’s the Industry Problem?

Industry 4.0 technologies like IOT, artificial intelligence and cloud applications offer potential for major energy productivity benefits for business.  There is much research being undertaken to improve application of these technologies but this research has not focused on capturing energy productivity opportunities.                                                                  
Businesses lack adequate quality data of current energy use and there is a lack of affordable, non-invasive, reliable, digital metering for electricity and fluids. 
 

Expected Impact

Energy productivity to be seen as an important element by Industry 4.0 advocates and potential adopters, and incorporated into government programs.  Potential to improve energy efficiency in the manufacturing sector by >17.5% over 10 years through improved measurement and analysis, IOT, and AI (CESMII, US 2019).  
By focusing digitalisation on energy, this Theme aims to unlock at least 20% of the cost effective energy savings potential and non-energy benefits, worth some $250M/year by 2030.  

Theme B3: Electrification and renewables to displace fossil fuel process heating

Theme Summary

Scoping, development and demonstration of electrification of process heating to improve energy productivity and provide a decarbonisation pathway.  This Theme also will address optimal interaction with electricity supply system. This includes three focuses based on the temperature and application: Low temperature (below 100C); steam temperatures (100-300C); and high temperature.  The low to medium temperature range is focused on replacing fossil fuel boilers with point of end use, high efficiency electricity technology. This will be the main focus of this theme. Higher temperature decarbonisation faces greater technical challenges and will also be addressed - mainly using renewable gas. The Theme will consider renewable solar, biogas, and biomass technologies.

What’s the Industry Problem?

Manufacturers’ use of fossil fuels causes 8% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and costs businesses some $8 billion/year. Process heating using natural gas is has become expensive and LPG is very expensive in regional areas. There is a need for more energy productive and accessible electricity technologies, which also allow supply by renewable power. 
Distributed processing facilities can be better suited to high efficiency electric processing technologies.  Business is increasingly also looking to decarbonise and process heating is the single greatest challenge for decarbonising industry.  

Expected Impact

This theme aims to improve energy productivity, reduce business costs and accelerate decarbonisation of low to medium temperature process heating, which accounts for up to a half of the total manufacturing sector emissions.   Electricity technologies including heat pumps have the potential to displace fossil fuel use in process heating up to 100C in near-term. 

Theme B4: Flexible demand and demand control technology and development

Theme Summary

Develop business models, hardware and software solutions to optimise electricity demand in response to supply conditions and more cost reflective pricing of electricity.  Includes optimisation of on site generation, on site storage (thermal, battery, material, pumped and other), efficiency at times of peak load.  

What’s the Industry Problem?

Need for packaged and low cost technology for load flexibility to optimise costs based on time varying energy market signals.  Research, analysis and reform needed to develop and implement electricity prices which reflect the dynamic cost of supply. 
 

Expected Impact

This Theme will facilitate enhanced demand flexibility from business, which can assist in allowing increase penetration of renewables in the electricity supply system and make electricity network charges cheaper for businesses.  
Business opportunities for network businesses, software and metering vendors. New products to provide improved access to demand management for end-users.
Also potential for business savings through exposure to wholesale energy market using flexible demand as physical hedge, peak demand savings, emergency demand control and Renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). This approach has been shown to deliver business customers electricity cost savings of up to 20%.  Each 1% savings across business would be worth $60M/year.  

Theme B5: Onsite anaerobic digestion for power generation and natural gas/diesel displacement

Theme Summary

Develop more affordable solutions for energy production from anaerobic digestion for farms, factories and water authorities to tap underexploited energy resources from waste to produce more renewable gas for heating, power and diesel replacement.

What’s the Industry Problem?

Agricultural and food processing wastes and manure are a major 'renewable' energy source which is underutilised and a significant cause of methane emissions.  While the pig industry has utilised this waste in large operations, smaller package systems are needed, and there is little recovery in the beef, dairy and chicken industries.  Use of biogas for diesel replacement would also add value on farm.

Expected Impact

Renewable energy generation, reduced methane emissions, develop improved on farm application of biogas and opportunities for increased value adding on farms using free wastes. ARENA analysis of agricultural and food processing biogas indicates a possible saving of $125M/y by 2030.

© RACE for 2030 CRC