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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K011820/1
Principal Investigator: Tassou, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Stewart, Dr AJ Fryer, Professor PJ Kolokotroni, Professor M
Song, Professor J Bakalis, Professor S Ge, Professor Y
Bourlakis, Professor M Azapagic, Professor A Norton, Professor IT
Theodoropoulos, Professor C Wossink, Professor GAA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Biosciences KTN Buro Happold Cargill Plc (UK)
Centre for Process Innovation CPI (UK) Chemistry Innovation Doug Marriott Associates Ltd
Environmental Sustainability KTN H J Heinz Co Ltd. Heineken International B.V.
Hydropac Ltd Iceland Foods Ltd Kellogg Europe Trading Limited
Kelvion Searle Kraft Foods Worldwide Corporate HQ Maintenance Management Ltd
Marks & Spencer plc Monodraught Ltd PepsiCo (Global)
Premier Foods Group Ltd Process Integration Limited Tesco
Thorntons Budgens Waitrose WR Refrigeration
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Organisation: Brunel University London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2013 Ends: 30 June 2019 Value (£): 5,699,187
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Food and Drink Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
17 Oct 2012 End Use in Energy Demand (fulls) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK food chain, comprising agricultural production, manufacturing, distribution, retail and consumption, involves more than 300,000 enterprises and employs 3.6 million people. The food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector, employing 500,000 people and contributing £80 billion to the economy. It is also estimated that the food chain is responsible for 160 MtCO2e emissions and 15 Mt of food waste, causing significant environmental impacts. Energy is an important input in all stages of the food chain and is responsible for 18% of the UK's final energy demand.

In recent years, progress has been made in the reduction of energy consumption and emissions from the food chain primarily through the application of well proven technologies that could lead to quick return on investment. To make further progress, however, significant innovations will have to be made in approaches and technologies at all stages of the food chain, taking a holistic view of the chain and the interactions both within the chain and the external environment.

The EPSRC Centre for Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains will make significant contributions in this field. It will bring together multidisciplinary research groups of substantial complementary experience and internationally leading research track record from the Universities of Brunel, Manchester and Birmingham and a large number of key stakeholders to investigate and develop innovative approaches and technologies to effect substantial end use energy demand reductions.

The Centre will engage both in cutting edge research into approaches and technologies that will have significant impacts in the future, leading towards the target of 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, but also into research that will have demonstrable impacts within the initial five year lifetime of the Centre.

Taking a whole systems approach, the research themes will involve:

i) Simulation of energy and resource flows in the food chain, from farm-gate to plate to enable investigations of energy and resource flows between the stages of the chain and the external environment, and facilitate overall energy and resource use optimisation taking into consideration the impact of policy decisions, future food and energy prices and food consumption trends.

ii) Investigation of approaches and technologies for the reduction of energy use at all stages of the chain through reduction of the energy intensity of individual processes and optimisation of resource use. It is expected that a number of new innovative and more efficient technologies and approaches for energy reduction will be developed in the lifetime of the Centre to address processing, distribution, retail and final consumption in the home and the service sector.

iii) Identification of optimal ways of interaction between the food chain and the UK energy supply system to help manage varying demand and supply through distributed power generation and demand-response services to the grid.

iv) Study of consumer behaviour and the impact of key influencing factors such as changing demographics, increased awareness of the needs and requirements of sustainable living, economic factors and consumption trends on the nature and structure of the food chain and energy use.

Even though the focus will be on the food chain, many of the approaches and technologies developed will also be applicable to other sectors of the economy such as industry, commercial and industrial buildings and transportation of goods.

The Centre will involve extensive collaboration with the user community, manufacturers of technology, Government Departments, Food Associations and other relevant research groups and networks. A key vehicle for dissemination and impact will be a Food Energy and Resource Network which will organise regular meetings and annual international conferences to disseminate the scientific outputs and engage the national and international research and user communities
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.brunel.ac.uk