The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides robust evidence demonstrating the need to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) rapidly to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The UK Government defines its contribution towards this goal as achieving an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 from a 1990 baseline. The UK Government sets out some of the detail on how individual sectors will respond to this challenge recognising that a cost effective pathway will mean a variable contribution to the end goal.

Reducing industrial energy demand could make a substantial contribution towards this goal while also improving productivity and creating employment opportunities. There are efficiency gains that can be made in UK industry to reduce energy. However, these are limited as many of the gains have already been made predominately because they have delivered a subsequent cost saving. Therefore, to reduce industrial energy requires a wider investigation considering the key drivers of energy demand.

Ultimately, all industrial energy use is a result of demand for goods and services. Energy is required at each stage in the manufacture of a product from raw material extraction through to the final distribution and ultimately disposal. With the growth in globalisation, the required energy at different points along this supply chain is in many different countries. CIE-MAP takes into account the UK’s global energy requirement to meet its demand for products and explores how to change our use of products, increase efficiency and explore material substitution options to deliver a reduction in industrial energy demand.

Working closely with government and industry, CIE-MAP conducts research to identify all the opportunities along the product supply chain that ultimately deliver a reduction in industrial energy use.

This is achieved by exploring:

  1. Efficiency gains that can be made in industry including use of heat and improvements in processes.
  2. Changing the use of materials needed to produce products including material substitution, light weighting and circular economy
  3. Changing the way the final consumer (industry, households or government) use products to reduce energy demand including product longevity and shifts from goods to services.

CIE-MAP brings together the four leading UK universities of Bath, Cardiff, Leeds and Nottingham Trent with a range of expertise in engineering, economics, psychology, design, political science and governance. Funded by the Research Council’s Energy Programme, CIE-MAP forms one of six centres focuses on reducing energy demand in the UK.