• It will enable the energy efficiency of factories to be improved by cutting consumption by up to 20%
  • The technologies developed will be tried out at a textile mill, a food factory and a foundry

IK4-IKERLAN is participating in the REEMAIN European Project, which will be developing a set of energy management tools that will enable the industrial sector to cut CO2 emissions and electricity consumption. The main tool to be developed in this initiative is a piece of software that will analyse all the details relating to energy management at a plant, and after processing them through a predictive simulation program, will propose measures to improve energy efficiency at the facility in question.

This project, which has a budget of 9.8 million euros, seeks to contribute towards improving the energy efficiency of European industry and to cut the CO2 emissions produced as a result of its activity. To achieve this aim, it will not only be developing this programme, it will also be encouraging the sustainable management of the waste produced during the manufacturing processes and the use of renewable energies by developing technological innovations to enable more efficient devices to be created. These tools will be tested in three companies: Bossa textiles, Gullón biscuits and an SMC foundry.

The simulation tools will have a series of fields requiring the inputting of key information, like consumption (and, where relevant, production) of energy in the plant that is going to be studied, the production processes taking place at the factory, total energy consumption, the rates applied, machinery type and availability, whether it has any facilities for producing or storing energy (like photovoltaic panels and fuel cells), etc.

The program will analyse them, carry out a simulation on the basis of them and offer a range of solutions to implement more efficient production. It will come up with measures to optimize machine performance, like the use of renewables wherever they could prove useful, energy storage in fuel cells so that it can be used when needed, or even the use of energy that would otherwise be wasted.
Iñigo Gandiaga, head of the REEMAIN Project at IK4-IKERLAN, provided an example of this last case: “If there is a phase in which residual heat is given off during the production process in a biscuit factory, the software will propose that a system be used to recover that heat and use it in another process, for example to keep the chocolate in a liquid state, which will allow savings in unnecessary expenditure.”

Apart from the software, within the REEMAIN framework another two pieces of work will be carried out relating to energy efficiency; they will consist of improving the efficiency and monitoring of solar concentrators (a type of solar collector) and developing an electrical energy storage system based on lithium-ion cells, a task that IK4-IKERLAN will be handling.

The main task of the cell system will be the intelligent use of renewable energies in order to improve energy efficiency in manufacturing processes. In other words, they will be used to store the energy produced by the renewable energy devices so that it can be used whenever needed.

“IK4-IKERLAN will be bringing state-of-the-art developments in the field of electricity storage which will constitute a qualitative leap forward in the field of industrial energy management,” confirmed Fran Blanco, head of IK4-IKERLAN’s Energy and Microsystems units.

The technological results obtained will be subjected to initial validation at a demonstration plant belonging to the Fraunhofer IWU institute for research, and afterwards they will be tested out at real plants devoted to three different fields. This is designed to ensure that the program offers the maximum versatility. The tests will be carried out at a plant of the company Bossa (in Turkey) in the textile sector; at another belonging to the food company Gullón biscuits (in Spain); and finally, at the SMC foundry in the metallurgical sector (in Italy).

Gandiaga pointed out that “in industrial production there is a large margin for cutting energy consumption and the CO2 emissions associated with it, and in this initiative we are seeking to contribute towards designing the factory of the future.” The researcher added that “as far as IK4-IKERLAN is concerned, the REEMAIN project is an excellent opportunity to obtain real data on the manufacturing processes in various industrial sectors and to look into the possibilities of production that is more energy efficient."

This project is aligned with the aims of the Horizon 2020 programme in the area of energy which seeks to encourage a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 20% increase in the consumption of renewables and a 20% increase in the effectiveness of energy use.

REEMAIN got going recently and is due to end in 2017. It has a budget of 9.8 million euros, partly funded by the European Commission's 'Factories of the Future’ programme. This is an initiative which is part of the EU’s 7th Framework Programme designed to foster the development of new sustainable technologies for companies in Europe.

Another 15 companies, research centres and universities from five countries are participating alongside IK4-IKERLAN in the consortium of this initiative: they are the Cartif R&D centre (project leader), Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd, De Montfort University, Galletas Gullón SA, Bossa, EURAC, R2M Solution SRL, Dr. Jakob Energy Research, Fraunhofer, Youris.com, Solera, Est Enerji, CRIT, SCM Group SPA and AENOR.

IK4-IKERLAN is participating in this European project, funded through a budget of €10M and designed to develop tools to manage energy