CIT Nimbus Centre leads €11m EU project “DENiM” to reduce industrial energy consumption

Cork Institute of Technology’s Nimbus Centre will lead a new EU funded research project to deliver energy-efficiency in the manufacturing sector.

Dr Alan McGibney and Dr Susan Rea CIT Nimbus Centre

Cork Institute of Technology’s Nimbus Centre will lead a new EU funded research project to deliver energy-efficiency in the manufacturing sector. “DENiM” aims to accelerate the digital transformation of manufacturing processes to enable significant reduction of energy consumption.    

Dr Alan McGibney and Dr Susan Rea, CIT have been awarded this project valued over €11 million from the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Technologies for Factories of the Future programme. This is a four-year project which will address the need for energy-efficient manufacturing system management. The DENiM project will provide a novel technological solution to support a collaborative approach to energy management across various manufacturing sectors.  

A quarter of Europe’s total energy consumption can be attributed to the industrial sector and with the pressing need to tackle climate change it is essential that this number is reduced dramatically. The easiest way to reduce energy is to shut everything down, however industry must continue to meet the demands of consumers and produce products. Therefore, industry must leverage advanced technology to manage resources and processes more effectively and ensure energy efficiency is an integral part of the manufacturing decision processes. 

“In order to save energy, you first need to know how and where it is being consumed. At home you might look at your electricity smart meter or heating bill, however in an industrial setting there are many factors that impact energy consumption and getting a full view of these remains a major challenge ” explains project lead Dr McGibney “digital technologies will play a significant role by providing the ability to automatically monitor and optimise energy usage, while also informing users on the environmental and economic impact of decisions made at all stages of the manufacturing process.“  

At the core of the DENiM project is close collaboration with industrial partners who represent the key stakeholders in evaluating the solutions across four complex industrial sectors. These pilots will validate the applicability of key enabling digital technologies as a solution for effective energy management, contributing to best practices that can maximise impact across the EU manufacturing landscape. The project will further demonstrate leadership in both the uptake of digital technologies and sustainable manufacturing that can be replicated across other energy-intensive sectors. “The DENiM project views education, awareness and upskilling as an essential component to allow all workers understand their collective responsibility in addressing energy efficiency” says Dr Rea, DENiM project co-lead.  

In order to achieve significant energy savings DENiM will provide the ability to collect, analyse, and communicate in real-time, data that can be used to optimise the performance and resource consumption at machine, process and factory level. In addition, decision support systems will incorporate energy consumption as a key criteria across all levels of decision making within an organisation. DENiM will develop an interoperable digital intelligence platform enabling a holistic approach to industrial energy management. DENiM provides an integrated toolchain to provision advanced digital services including secure edge connectivity leveraging IoT, data analytics, digital twin, energy modelling and automation culminating in the delivery of continuous energy impact assessment, together with energy control and optimisation across existing production facilities, processes, and machines. 

The project includes a consortium of 18 partner organisations led by Cork Institute of Technology bringing together a strong team of partners across 8 European countries. The team is incredibly grateful to Enterprise Ireland for their support, particularly through the Coordinator Support grant and their National Contact Points. Dr Sergio Ceballos National Contact Point for the Horizon 2020 Manufacturing programme in Enterprise Ireland mentioned “DENiM is the first Irish led Innovation action funded in the Factories of the Future programme and scored 5th across Europe out of 83 proposals submitted. It shows how national investment in manufacturing research leverages success in international projects for the benefit of the Irish and European industry.”  

The DENiM project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958339.