Government-backed ‘Made Smarter Review’ notes potential for sensor-based controls to mitigate against energy supply disruption
Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs) such as sensor-based smart devices for heating and cooling are among the solutions being touted in a new review aiming to transform how UK business can better mitigate against short-term strains on the national grid.
The conclusions form part of the ‘Made Smarter Review’ that has been published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to set out ways of improving the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the UK’s industrial base.
As part of an independent review process led Siemens UK CEO Juergen Maier, the report looked at how infrastructure in the UK can better overcome energy supply disruptions while also improving the environmental impact of industrial processes.
The review noted the potential role of sensor adoption in heating and refrigeration to help identify short-term strains on the National grid and adjust electricity use for the equipment in “short bursts” as an example of the benefits available.
“The government report, ‘The Future of Manufacturing’ predicted that the UK would see increasingly frequent and large disruptions – from material availability due to geopolitics, floods, droughts and energy disruptions,” said the review findings. “IDTs have the potential to mitigate these kinds of disruptions because they enable manufacturers to drive resource productivity and reduce the resources required for each unit of value-add they produce. Smart energy systems are a clear example of IDT’s potential, and the current UK market for such systems is already worth approximately £160m per year.”
The strategy document noted that use of IDTs to link together multiple factories and other premises could also provide grid services such as demand shifting to better balance supply or demand from processes such as heating.
To try and realise these benefits, an increase in the scale of adoption of IDTs among manufacturers and in their supply chains was among recommendations in the findings.
Up-skilling the UK’s industrial workforce to make use of such technologies by providing a standardised and simplified approach to quality training was also put forward in the review.