News & Events

‘One Nation’ Strategy to Achieve Net Zero Emission by 2050

In June 2019 the UK launched a major new policy which will require the UK to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The launch of the policy and passing of these laws sees the UK as the leading major economy to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore said:

“The UK kick-started the Industrial Revolution, which was responsible for economic growth across the globe but also for increasing emissions.”

“Today we’re leading the world yet again in becoming the first major economy to pass new laws to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 while remaining committed to growing the economy - putting clean growth at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

“We’re pioneering the way for other countries to follow in our footsteps driving prosperity by seizing the economic opportunities of becoming a greener economy.”

Key to achieving the net zero target by 2050 will be the investment into research and development, utilising our scientific expertise to investigate new technologies, materials and resources and establish solutions on how we can offset our emissions produced, against our emissions taken from the atmosphere to reach an overall balance.

Key to achieving the net zero target by 2050 will be the investment into research and development, utilising our scientific expertise to investigate new technologies, materials and resources and establish solutions on how we can offset our emissions produced, against our emissions taken from the atmosphere to reach an overall balance.

The Prime Minister has already committed to doubling the research and development budget over the next 5 years, which is a significant increase over previous years. The aim for the UK is to become a global science superpower and it is recognised that research and development will help with this transformation.

Previous years have seen a disproportionate divide of funding, with the South and East of England benefitting more compared with other regions of the UK.

However this disproportionate divide has been recognised and where we choose to invest the money is now also seen as of great significance, the Prime Minister declared that this is a ‘One Nation’ government, committed to ‘levelling up’, so that every corner of the UK can benefit from its determination to share our future prosperity. For science and innovation, we too need a ‘One Nation’ strategy for R&D.

GERD/BERD figures: ONS, Gross domestic expenditure on research and development, by region, UK


New supply chains emerging from COVID-19

Written by Professor Lenny Koh

The year 2020 marked the start of a challenge to humankind. The world witnessed the first discovery of a new virus – the Coronavirus / COVID-19. The first epicentre of COVID-19 was in Wuhan, Hubei province, China; the second epicentre was Europe; and the third epicentre is now in the USA. The global economy is in a ‘lockdown’ because of this Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.


All countries respond with a range of strategies and actions, tailored to their needs and circumstances. These include injecting trillions of dollars to the market to save the economy and lives, mobilising resources, readapting supply chain and technology, stock piling critical raw materials and products, accelerating research and innovation (e.g. vaccine and ventilators), maximising data sharing and openness, increasing acceptance of digital technology. As such, the global supply chains are disrupted with immense pressure and are undergoing major revolution.

The ability of a country to bounce back quickly from COVID-19 would depend on the supply chain resources efficiency including financial resources, physical resources, infrastructure resources, human resources, data resources, material resources, natural resources, and their interconnectedness of their supply chain resources. These supply chain resources comprise of environmental, economic, and social capital. By capturing and quantifying these streams of capital for critical cycles of inputs and outputs, we can measure and manage supply chain resources sustainability more efficiently. Put simply, for instance, a bilateral resources deal between countries enable both to strengthen each other supply chains. Therefore, it is not just supply chains that compete, but also the strengths of their resources capital and resources sustainability. For example the shortages as a result of increased demand we are currently facing right now from COVID-19 are ‘temporal outcome’ of resource scarcity due to fragmentation of resource capital, inefficient resources management, and non-resilient supply chain resources sustainability (i.e. lack of such resources deal).

By identifying and managing the interconnectedness and overlaps in resource cycles will optimise the overall supply chain resources sustainability of specific product/service supply chains. This can be clearly evidenced in the way that organisations and nations converge their resources, capacities, capabilities and supply chains to address the COVID-19 challenges. For instance, the production of the urgently needed ventilators to save lives - the Ventilators Consortium in the UK including Rolls-Royce, Airbus, F1 etc. and the major industry-led and federal government-led effort in the USA including Ford, General Motor etc.; the construction of temporary hospital in 10 days (Nightingale) at Excel London from NHS and construction workforce, military engineers, logistics and transport firms and volunteers; and the fast mobilisation of doctors and nurses and personal protection equipment (PPE) between cities to the epicentre in China and the national level ‘lockdown’ enforced with strict monitoring. These are case evidence of how resource efficiency and supply chain resource sustainability are practised.

Economists have predicted that COVID-19’s impact on the global economy will be 10x bigger than the 2008 Asia financial crisis. World Economy Forum has compared the global economic impact from COVID-19 to a global economic depression (not a recession). However, some economists predicted that the global economy will bounce back in the 4th quarter of 2020, recovering from the current nosedive of stock markets. If China’s growth is 6% as predicted for 2020, then global market will be in a less worst scenario. The new world needs to prepare for the recovery from this global economy slowdown by accelerating the expansion of global supply chains but with the requirement to grow within the resources boundary.

It is absolutely key that all policy makers and industries globally must collaborate to see the role of resource efficiency and supply chain resource sustainability embedded in everything. A world where decisions are made with the above in mind, improving supply chain resource forecasting, utilisation, and conflict resolution decisions, and contributes toward translating macro-level sustainability targets into specific production and operations objectives. More of these type of new supply chains will emerge from COVID-19 with win-win-win (economic, environmental and social) characteristics.

African Drone Forum 2020: A huge success

The African Drone Forum (ADF) 2020 strives to create an extensive stakeholder platform to progress the equitable and safe development of drone economies in Africa. The ADF 2020 was successfully held in Rwanda, Africa, on February 5-7.

ADF2020 Group

The ADF was organised in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, World Bank Group and partners including UK AID and the World Economic Forum. The three day event was officially opened by the President of Rwanda his Excellency Paul Kagame. The event explored what a future unbound by surface infrastructure could look like, how drone technology can promote development and increase access to essential services and opportunities for the African continent.

ADF2020 President

Bringing together engineers, regulators, government users, entrepreneurs, academics, development partners, and grassroots drone organizations, the three-day forum included:

Day One – The future of drones in Africa, Africa’s Drone Economy, the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa and Droneports and Infrastructure Services in Africa. The Ignite Talks presented the Flying Competitions teams and the technology on display during the Lake Kivu Challenge.

Day Two – A discussion on UAS technology use in specific sectors, through the keynote Future of Food Deliveries in Africa and plenary session Drones for Agriculture – a game changer for Africa. The speakers addressed how drones can be useful in surveying and mapping, as well as disaster risk management with breakout session on: Technology, Regulation, Connected Skies and Logistics. The Global Air Drone Academy, from Nigeria, was selected as the winner of the African Drone Business Challenge finalists with MicroMek from Malawi and JembeKilimo from Tanzania runners up.

Day Three – A discussion on the Plenary Heavy Lift followed by discussions around airspace management, drone regulations in Africa, drone integration into supply chains, and drones for malaria eradication followed by the Africa Next announcement.

One of the highlights of the forum was the Lake Kivu Challenge, consisting of three flying competitions with ten teams participating across seven countries. The competition showcased the drone technology including vertical take-off and landing aircraft, unmanned traffic management hardware/software, and beyond visual line of site drone delivery operations.

ADF2020 Group Lake

Rwanda is committed to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, as a key pillar for transforming our country and our continent, both socially and economically. His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda commented, “Why limit ourselves to just using drones? We can also design and manufacture drones in Africa, as demonstrated by examples at this forum. This allows the technology to be tailored to our specific needs, and to help create new industries that generate employment and prosperity”.

Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Infrastructure said “Drones can be a key enabler to future economic growth, poverty reduction and shared prosperity in Africa. They have the potential to create new business models and transform industries like agriculture, mining, e-commerce and health, saving lives by making medicines and vaccines reach the most isolated communities. The African Drone Forum aims to transform the lower skies of Africa into a resource for sustainable mobility, promising efficiency, innovation and opening new opportunities for the population. For this reason the World Bank is helping countries develop their potential and several of our projects already rely on drones for issues including managing flood risk to post disaster needs assessments, The African Drone Forum will help countries leapfrog into the digital economy and develop skills for 21st century jobs in Africa. We are excited to see how the African Drone Forum is bringing together local and international stakeholders to accelerate Africa’s technology revolution, creating growth and development opportunities,”


Why do Emerging Market Firms Engage in Voluntary Environmental Management Practices? A Strategic Choice Perspective

Professor Lenny Koh and collaborators have published a paper which investigates firms’ decisions to engage in voluntary environmental management (VEM) practices within an emerging market context, in the British Journal of Management.

Drawing on the strategic choice and the resource-based view perspectives, results were reported from a survey of VEM practices–a specific form of self-governance–drawing on a sample of 519 Turkish firms from various industries to identify important strategic antecedents of firms’ decisions to engage in such practices.

Professor Lenny Koh commented “Our study put an important spotlight on advancing the understanding of why firms practice voluntary environmental management within an emerging market. Our study found as firms become more customer focused, seek differentiation and subject to a higher level of strategy-oriented stakeholder focus, they tend to implement higher levels of voluntary environmental management practices.”

Link to the full paper


Coronavirus: Ventilators requirement

Coronavirus (or COVID-19) is a global pandemic. First identified in Wuhan, China. The global spread has led to major international efforts in addressing the impact from Coronavirus. Amongst policy interventions such as lock-down, or the race to develop the vaccine needed, Coronavirus has had an immense impact on the global supply chain.

As part of the effort to address the Coronavirus issue, the UK Government has announced the requirement for ventilators, an international demand recognized by the USA government and UK government views/plans.

However due to the pandemic there is an international shortage in this life saving equipment.

Manufacturers in the UK such as Rolls Royce and Dyson have been asked if they can assist in the production of key medical equipment in particular ventilators to ensure we have sufficient supply.

NBC News interviewed Professor Lenny Koh, Director of AREC and Head of Communication, Partnership and Internationalization of Energy Institute at The University of Sheffield on this strategy.

The news article can be found here:

Cold Sintering Process (CSP) is the most cost-effective, low-carbon way of sintering ceramics

Professor Ian Reaney and researchers from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield and Pennsylvania State University have released a new paper which has established that the cold sintering process is the ideal technique to decarbonise ceramic manufacturing.

Professor Reaney, Head of AREC USA, collaborated with Professor Clive Randall from Pennsylvania State University and Professor Lenny Koh Head of AREC Global, to conduct a comprehensive analysis of different ways of sintering ceramics, to establish which had the best energy saving potential.

The process of sintering is by heating compacted powder to form a dense solid mass and represents one of the most energy intensive parts of manufacturing.

The paper shows that CO2 emissions and energy consumption for ceramic manufacturers could be considerably reduced by using the Cold Sintering Process (CSP), the paper also presented that implementing this was the most cost-effective, low-carbon way of sintering ceramics.

Professor Reaney’s paper forms a strong framework for the introduction of CSP to the manufacturers, with the opportunity for it to achieve its full potential and move from laboratory testing to industry use.

Professor Reaney speaking about his findings, commented: “CSP is a remarkable technique that was first developed at the Pennsylvania State University. Our research however, unambiguously establishes CSP as the go-to densification method in ceramic manufacturing for energy reduction and decarbonisation”.

Professor Randall also commented, “The collaboration with Professor Reaney’s group at the University of Sheffield has clearly demonstrated that CSP is the way forward for low energy, low carbon ceramic manufacturing”.

Details of the research can be found in the paper published in the Journal of the European Ceramics Society.

Significant Grant awarded by Agrifood Africa Innovation

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of AREC and her research team at The university of Sheffield in collaboration with two prestigious Ghanaian-based research institutes namely Gold Coast Sustainability and Governance Institute as the lead African research partner and the Food Research Institute under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Ghana have been awarded a significant grant by the AgriFood Africa Innovation Award.

The Grant Award: AgriFood Africa Innovation Award is funded by Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) under the Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer programme.

The research project will explore Triple bottom line sustainability of circular economy in Ghana’s Agrifood value chain. The fundamental principle of Circular Economy (CE) is to ensure that the value chains of production systems are self-sustaining and support the reuse of resources to avoid making the environment a sink of waste. Circular Economy in agrifood chains, which links production and consumption supply chain activities, is about reducing food waste and consequently promoting global food security.


Despite the very positive conceptualisation and the potential sustainability benefits that CE can offer, very little research on the concept has been explored in the context of developing countries particularly those in the Sub-Saharan Africa region where there is high threat to food security. This research project therefore aims to close this gap by performing a triple bottom line (economic, environmental and social) sustainability analysis of agrifood value chains in a Sub-Saharan country, Ghana. The overall objective of the research is to develop theoretically grounded, methodological framework to assess the critical factors, benefits and key constraints of the CE of Ghana’s agrifood value chain.

Professor Lenny Koh commented: “This is an important international research collaboration involving UK and Africa (Ghana). Through this we will advance the understanding of circular economy innovation for Ghana’s agrifood value chain, and the results will be showcased as a demonstrator for other developing countries.”

Workshop explores the future of electric vehicle supply chains

A recent workshop held at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the Universities of Cambridge and Surrey brought together representatives from industry, government and academia to discuss the future of Electric Vehicle (EV) supply chains.

EV-RES Workshop

The circular economy industry road-mapping workshop was held at Halifax Hall, in Sheffield on 6th February 2020. Key leaders from industry, the government and academia were invited to the event to discuss opportunities for the EV supply chain.

Throughout the day attendees collaborated in three road mapping sessions to identify opportunities, barriers and research programmes presented by EV. The workshop was a tremendous success with common themes emerging during the road mapping sessions.

Researchers from the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield will summarise and collate all the information from the workshop. This could lead to future collaborative opportunities for development of the EV industry.

Martin Wood, Department for International Trade, commented “It was a great chance to share views and opinions about the direction of travel and electrification in the UK”.

Antony Cooper, London Electric Vehicle Company, commented “The workshop was a good opportunity to build relations between academia and the industry”.

Neil Glover, Rolls Royce commented “It was interesting to hear other automotive views with lots of parallels, also differences and joint opportunities.”

Dr Linus T. Fon, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) commented “Technology and innovation are the key drivers of the next industrial revolution. Businesses will need to explore and upgrade their existing capabilities in order to stay competitive.”

Lee Bateup, Bentley, commented “The event was well organised and facilitated by the University of Sheffield, resulting in a clear and inclusive (Full Lifecycle) problem statement, which enabled the multi-disciplinary participants to form a number of avenues of investigation and action. This is the first important step in a long and circuitous journey towards a future in which the transport sector can have near-zero negative environmental impact.”

The event forms part of the work of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre which supports the development of resource sustainable supply chains by proposing new ways of reducing risk for partners in overcoming the challenges of resource availability.

Professor Lenny Koh, Energy Institute and Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre said “Sheffield is well placed to support industry and the government on their journey to electrification with our cutting-edge research from materials science, manufacturing, energy, supply chain, circular economy and sustainability.

We bring together our capabilities from the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Royce Institute and Energy Institute alongside the University of Cambridge’s IfM and University of Surrey engineering to make progress through research and innovation.

The transport sector, including the automotive and aerospace industries, and their supply chains are driving this forward alongside the UK Government’s commitment to achieving net zero by 2050 and the ban of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035.”

Automotive logistics leaders unite to prepare for future challenges

Automotive Logistics UK Logo

Automotive logistic leaders from across the industry attended the Jaguar Experience centre in Castle Bromwich on 4th December for the Automotive Logistics UK conference.

AREC Logistics UK image1

This industry-led conference was an important event for the future of the Automotive industry and was attended by a host of senior decision makers, influencers, innovators and practitioners along with vehicle manufacturers, tier suppliers, LSPs and technology providers from across the automotive logistics sector in the UK and Europe. The event was an incredible opportunity to knowledge share, build relationships and gain a valuable understanding to support future success in the new automotive era.

Experts from across the industry ran Think Tanks throughout the day with practical, interactive group discussions on topics such as:

AREC Logistics UK image2Dealing with Disruption, Making the most of Data, Finished Vehicles: Raising standards, Many Happy Returns: Container and Packaging Management, Finished Vehicles: Testing Times, The EV Supply Chain, Next Generation Warehouse and The road ahead for UK automotive.

Professor Lenny Koh led the Think Tank for “#LogisticsForFuture: Cutting pollution in the supply chain” and presented the research and development that AREC UK have been involved in sustainability of automotive supply chain and logistics including SCEnAT Suites, transport and recycling, circular economy and Blockchain along with an insight into China’s Automobile Industrial Park.

Following on from the think tank sessions was an exclusive tour of the Jaguar plant, an exciting opportunity to see first-hand the entire manufacturing process for the high performance F-Type, as well as gain an insight into how the plant is preparing to building the new, all-electric XJ starting next year.

Advancing the scale-up of China research collaborations and partnerships

Over the last years, solid collaborations and partnerships have led to significant impact on policy and industry in China. Advanced through the scale-up of AREC China (Beijing and Shenzhen) coupled with wider global reach.

Stemmed from the strong foundation between AREC Global and UK and AREC China, Professor Lenny Koh recently visited Beijing and Nanjing, China to meet with AREC China (led by Ken Pan) and partners to foster scaling up of China research collaborations and partnerships. The objective was to further maximise the collaborative partnerships built from the already established significant impact to benefit global society and industry.

The meetings involved several organisations such as leading universities, industry and government think tanks including Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, CIIC International Human Resources Services Ltd, MCC, Great Environmental Group, Beijing Warmland Energy Services Co Ltd, Lotus Lake Capital, Beijing Capital Robotics Industry Innovation Centre, GHDDI (funded by Bill Gates), GHIC, Beijing Tsinghua Industrial Research & Development Institute and etc.

Global healthcare, energy revolution, Belt and Road automotive supply chains, SCEnAT suites and life cycle assessment, water and environmental technology, waste-to-resources, new materials, circular economy and recycling were amongst some of the areas of collaborative projects. A total of 22 projects have been created from these visits through multiple meetings and workshops with stakeholders, leading industry, universities, policy makers and think tanks in China.

Some of the outcomes from these include:

Tsinghua University (Beijing), DRTT, CCIEE and Transinfo

Building from the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between The University of Sheffield and Tsinghua University, China; the collaboration between UK, Europe, China and USA on automotive supply chain; and collaboration between Professor Lenny Koh with Tsinghua University on blockchain and life cycle, proposals have been submitted to MOST and EU (Brussels). This involves partners from the UK, Europe, USA and China, with stakeholders from leading industries, policy makers, think tanks and universities.

Tsinghua University is ranked #1 in China and Asia. DRTT and CCIEE are prestigious government think tanks and policies makers in China. Transinfo is China leading provider of big data on transport and logistics (freights and passengers) across multi-modality including road, air, rail and sea.

In addition, existing collaboration and partnership between AREC and Tsinghua includes environmental management, waste recycling and circular economy policies.

Beijing Tsinghua Industrial Research & Development Institute, Tsinghua Beijing Science Park

Aiming to advance the discussions between Beijing Tsinghua Industrial Research & Development Institute and Neuroscience Institute and Energy Institute at The University of Sheffield looking at transforming global healthcare and energy sustainability. Tour of key facilities have provided insights into the range of drug discovery, funding mechanism and partners involved, including the GHDDI funded by Bill Gates.

CIIC – International Human Resources Services Ltd

CIIC is a SASAC Directly Affiliated Central Enterprise. It is ranked #1 in Human Resources Providers in China and top 10 in Global Human Resources Providers. There are a total of 89 branches of CIIC in 76 Countries. CIIC is a Top 100 Services Enterprises.

Focussing on energy (including advancing SCEnAT suites) and talent development, an MoU will be signed between AREC and CIIC to strengthen our partnership and collaboration in these domain. This initiative includes the establishment of energy centres in China and Sheffield (covering research, innovation and training); as well as career and employment route map and green lane for future talent.

China Second Metallurgical Group

China Second Metallurgical Group Co., Ltd., referred to as 2MCC, founded in 1956, is a national super construction enterprise and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Metallurgical Science and Industry Corporation(MCC), which is the world’s largest and strongest metallurgical construction contractor and operation service provider, one of the state-recognized major resource enterprises, China’s largest steel structure producer, one of the first 16 central SOEs with real estate development as its major business approved by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the State Council, and the main force for China’s infrastructure construction.

Five specific projects with 2MCC to stimulate potential collaboration between AREC and 2MCC which cover areas such as circular economy, sustainable innovation, greener materials, and etc. have been established.

Beijing Warmland Energy Services Co Ltd

Using SCEnAT suites in computing environmental innovation impact in particular their application and implementation in the China Beijing Olympic Stadium in preparation for the 2022 Olympic Games. This collaboration, SCEnAT suites and results will be showcased at the Olympic Initiative Zone.

Great Environmental Group

Largest in Henan province. Adopting water technology and circular technology innovation, and new methods for improving resource efficiency and recycling for China’s industry environmental and business benefits. Focussing on translational dimensions of these innovation.

Nanjing University

Building from the strong partnership between The University of Sheffield and Nanjing University, an advanced collaboration will focus on recycling and waste-to-resources (industrial and municipal waste streams), and Energy Institute with support from municipal/province level. This collaboration is between AREC, Energy Institute and the Nanjing University Government Policy Department.

DoE ARPA–E Workshop Newark, New Jersey, USANew York picture

Professor Lenny Koh was invited to an ‘invite only’ ARPA-E workshop in Newark, New Jersey, USA in November.

The focus of the workshop was to develop a new framework to turn waste into resources underpinned by the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) principle, converting solid waste into energy intensive materials.

This is strategically creating a waste-to-resource framework initiative, forging international partnerships between the UK and the US around energy innovation and collaboration involving Argonne, AREC USA and AREC UK.

It was attended by 80 participants representing a range of key players in related industries and policy making organisations in order to transform US strategies and policies in dealing with waste – especially in creating a waste-to-resource framework.

First International Conference on Drawdown

PSU LogoProject Drawdown is partnering with Penn State to hold the first international conference on Drawdown — Research to Action: The Science of Drawdown. "Drawdown" is the point at which concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begin to steadily decline, ultimately reversing global warming. A rich database of solutions to reverse global warming was developed by Project Drawdown.

Leading scientific experts and researchers from around the world held a critical discussion about the most innovative and promising climate change solutions and upcoming research.

The conference steering committee comprised of leaders from U.S. and international universities and organizations, and hundreds of other experts with representation from over 50 U.S. universities, businesses, and governments participated.

The intention of the conference was to connect international partners and research institutions. The three-day conference focused on analysis and peer review of the portfolio of over 100 individual solutions, synergies and interactions were discussed and implementation pathways were evaluated including successful examples from around the world.

The Drawdown sectors and conference themes included:

Built Environment, Electricity Generation, Food, Land Use, Materials and Waste, Oceans, Transportation and Women and Girls.

Professor Lenny Koh represented the University of Sheffield in the session: Materials and Waste—More with Less: Better Production, Reducing Consumption, and Using Waste to get to Drawdown. The session discussed Drawdown solutions including several pathways to a more circular economy.

For detailed information please visit

Incoming Delegation from Penn State University (PSU) and AREC USA led by Chancellor Ford from Behrend Campus, PSU.

AREC PSU delegation pic 2

AREC PSU delegation pic 1 AREC PSU delegation pic 3 AREC PSU delegation pic 4 AREC PSU delegation pic 5

Professor Ralph Ford (Chancellor), Professor Alicyn Rhoades, Amy Bridger and Professor Timothy Kurzweg all from Behrend Campus, Penn State University together with Mick Shaw (Vice President of Plastek Europe), Kathi Gillespie (Plastek USA), Juraj Ulik (Plastek UK), and Brenda Jackson (Plastek USA) were warmly welcomed by Professor Lenny Koh on behalf of The University of Sheffield.

The visit was an opportunity to forge further and deeper collaboration between the UK and USA in the areas of research and materials innovation.

There were a series of meetings and tours of our key facilities including AMRC, Factory 2050 and the Diamond, The University of Sheffield’s prestigious research and learning facility.

Developing sustainable solutions for international supply chains

A new research partnership with Pennsylvania State University and the University of Sheffield aims to promote more sustainable supply chains to meet US policy standards.

Researchers from the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield have now launched the USA branch of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC-USA) at Pennsylvania State University. This research centre will promote collaboration between industry and universities. It will offer easy to access platforms that will help meet the challenges of sustainability across supply chains.

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of AREC and Head of Communication, Partnership and Internationalisation for the Energy Institute explains “We developed AREC in Sheffield to address some of the world’s biggest challenges such as resource scarcity, efficiency and sustainability through our cutting-edge research and innovation bringing transformational change and positive global impact on society, industry and government. We hope that AREC USA will lead to deep and significant USA policy and USA supply chain impact; and global policy and global supply chain impact on energy, environment and economy.”

AREC-USA supports the development of sustainable supply chains by proposing new ways of reducing risk for partners in overcoming the challenges of resource availability. Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) will be able to collaborate with larger industrial partners and benefit from cutting edge academic research. This provides the mechanism for achieving US Government and policy targets in supporting an environment in which the millions of US-based SMEs can flourish with their supply chains in the US and internationally.

Collaboration between the institutions will contribute to raising awareness about the excellent work conducted at the University of Sheffield internationally. AREC-USA will build on the existing partnership with Microsoft to develop cutting edge digital technologies to transform supply chains. An example of this is the Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) which was developed by Sheffield researchers in partnership with Microsoft. This cloud based software can pinpoint the places in the supply chain where most carbon is produced so companies know where change is required.

Clive Randall, Director of the Materials Research Institute at Penn State, said “We are extremely pleased to welcome the Pennsylvania State University’s partner, the Advanced Resource Efficiency Center (AREC-USA) with the University of Sheffield.

This will tremendously aid the consideration of major resources, ranging from advanced materials manufacturing, energy, mining, and agritech supply chains. Through this partnership, we aim to address and reengineer future research and business practice by integrating supply chain resource efficiency and sustainability into strategic decision making in government, industry and education.”

AREC’s central hub in Sheffield already provides industrial sustainable research in Europe and China. The USA programme brings together the Institute of Energy and Environment (IEE), Materials Research Institute (MRI), and Behrend’s Plastics Engineering Laboratory, all of which have committed funds to accelerate this partnership. AREC-USA offers a cross-disciplinary team with combined experience of research and innovation on sustainability, materials, manufacturing, energy and resource efficiency over five decades.

The launch of AREC-USA coincides with the Drawdown Conference on 16-18 September. The conference invites leading scientific experts and researchers from around the world to take part in a critical discussion about the most innovative and promising climate change solutions and upcoming research. Professor Lenny Koh, from the University of Sheffield’s Management School, AREC and Energy Institute, will attend the conference to present her research.

Innovating a new model of international cooperation:
Shenzhen China and Sheffield UK

ChinavisitAMRCOn May 9, 2019, The University of Sheffield hosted a prestigious incoming delegation from Shenzhen led by Shenzhen Municipal Commerce Bureau Director-General Wang Youming, China to Sheffield UK, coordinated by AREC. This delegation includes Shenzhen Electronic Chamber of commerce and 21 entrepreneurial elites of business and industry including Shenzhen government departments. The aim of the visit was to comprehensively strengthen cooperation between Shenzhen and the UK, especially with The University of Sheffield in the fields of technological innovation and international trade, and to continuously expand cooperation in the fields of higher education and talent introduction.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CEC I-Valley and The University of Sheffield, and MOU between Shenzhen Electronic Chamber of Commerce and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry were signed. The delegation toured The University of Sheffield’s AMRC and Factory 2050.

MOUSigningDavePetleyThe visit culminated with a drinks reception hosted by Vice President for Research and Innovation Professor Dave Petley at the Rotunda in Firth Court at The University of Sheffield. On behalf of the University, Professor Petley expressed good wishes and sincere welcome to the Shenzhen leaders and entrepreneurs. This visit was an excellent platform for opportunity and collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Shenzhen.

During the morning of 10th May 2019, the Vice Director of the Shenzhen Education Bureau Dr Wang Shui Fa hosted a roundtable meeting at China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) London Office coordinated by Nathalie Cachet-Gaujard, attended by various universities in the UK. Professor Koh represented The University of Sheffield in this roundtable meeting focussing on establishing a new type of PhD programme in Science and Technology Entrepreneurship between UK and China.

During the afternoon of 10th May, the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government led by the Mayor of Shenzhen Chen Rugui hosted the “Shenzhen & Hong Kong - London Economic and Trade Cooperation, Greater Bay Area, Build a Winning Future (London)” Conference at the Four Seasons hotel in London. More than 200 people attended this highly prestigious conference including speeches from leaders of both UK and China governments and industry.


Lifecycle City: SCEnATAR launch event 23 May 2019


Lifecycle City: SCEnATAR is a sustainable city game powered by Augmented Reality (AR) for your mobile device, which aims to train and educate people about the environmental, economic and social impacts by building, maintaining and upgrading a city. Compete to see who can build the most sustainable city and learn about the related impacts along the way. SCEnATAR game is supported by the ground-breaking research developed by The University of Sheffield.

Book a place

Solving the e-waste challenge requires global action

  • International team of experts have produced recommendations to reduce the harm to human health and the environment from current e-waste processing practices
  • Hazardous e-waste such as old mobiles, computers and circuit boards is piling up at alarming rates – 45 million metric tonnes recorded in 2016.
  • New report calls on government agencies and manufacturers to work together to tackle the e-waste crisis


An international team of experts have highlighted the urgent need for global cooperation to reform the e-waste recycling industry and counteract the harm it poses to both human health and environment.

Old mobile phones, computers, and circuit boards are all examples of electronic waste or e-waste.
E-waste often contains toxic components and is a major problem on the world stage. Even more concerning is the alarming rate at which e-waste is growing with almost 45 million metric tonnes recorded in 2016.

Huge volumes of e-waste are shipped around the world illegally or sent for processing to countries with underdeveloped and unsafe recycling capabilities. These practices pose a significant risk to human health and the environment.

The collaborative study, which involves Professor Lenny Koh from the University of Sheffield’s Management School and a team of researchers from the USA and China, is published in Nature Electronics.

The authors of the paper aim to transform today’s rudimentary recycling practices so that they become advanced, safe, and a profitable part of the global circular economy – an economic model where we extract the maximum use from a produce before it is recycled entirely or valuable parts are salvaged for future use.

Professor Koh, who is the Director for the Centre of Energy, Environment and Sustainability, and Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, said: “E-waste can be turned into ‘gold’ and can contribute to the circular economy if it is handled effectively, efficiently and sustainably, thereby avoiding negative impacts on health and the environment.”

Advanced equipment used to manage e-waste recycling such as Apple’s iPhone recycling robot ‘Daisy’ is expensive and unable to deal with the sheer volume of waste material.

Current preventative measures such as the United Nations’ Basel Convention are unable to cope with the rapidly increasing quantity of hazardous waste.

However, the international team of experts which includes Professor Oladele Ogunseitan from the University of California, USA, and Professor Jinhui Li and Dr Abhishek Awasthi from Tsinghua University, China, have developed recommendations to help alleviate the global challenge.

The researchers are calling for international cooperation and engagement from the private sector to tackle the pressing issue urging the best available technologies to be shared internationally and scaled up to deal not only with the e-waste mountain, but also with the safety issues around labour practises in this nascent industry.

The study also highlights standards in the e-waste industry which need to be improved. Profit margins for recyclers can be so small that they resort to using unsafe and environmentally damaging practices to meet demand. The researchers flag the need for oversight from governmental agencies to advance e-waste collection and strengthen recycling infrastructure.

Furthermore, financial incentives for this industry should be introduced. The academics point to an example of good practice where Indian banks have provided capital to promote sustainable development in rural regions which supports particular industries.

The researchers argue that this model can be applied to the e-waste industry to establish self-help group parks or cooperatives under the umbrella of the environmental regulatory authority of a country. This strategy aims to professionalise the industry, develop workers’ skills, and sure up safe labour practises across countries.

Professor Koh added: “Accessible best available technologies, sustainable standards for e-waste recycling, and financial incentives will pave the way forward for global actions in solving the e-waste challenge. Our research and recommendations shown in this paper can be used directly by governments and industry globally in designing e-waste recovery and circular economy models and policy.”

The paper ‘Circular economy and electronic waste’ is published in Nature Electronics.

View the full paper 

New view of the world could help create unlimited sustainable resources

  • Predictor tool developed by the University of Sheffield will help scientists forecast future impact of climate change, population growth and energy use
  • The Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) 4.0 uses large scale databases including from the World Bank and NASA Satelillite maps and embedded autonomous learning
  • Policy makers and industry leaders can use the predictor to have a deeper understanding of the implications of investment decisions and policy


A pioneering predictor tool developed by the University of Sheffield will give scientists an alternative way to visualise the world and help to forecast the impact of climate change, population growth and energy use.

The Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) 4.0 uses large scale databases – including from the World Bank and NASA Satelillite maps – numerical, graphic and textual data with embedded autonomous learning.

The new tool will be able to predict the relationship between climate change, political economy, innovation, life expectancy, population growth and energy use, on sustainable development and resources. With the flexible design of SCEnAT 4.0, any sustainability questions and any resources can be built.

The University of Sheffield, in collaboration with Microsoft, has been working for the past eight years to solve the global challenge of depleting resources. The new tool has been pioneered through the University’s Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) by Professor Lenny Koh.

“We are very proud of the long standing relationship between the University of Sheffield AREC and Microsoft,” said Professor Koh, Director of the AREC.

“SCEnAT 4.0 is borne from this ongoing collaboration in the era of Industry 4.0; and the Cloud and AI economy. SCEnAT 4.0 AI capabilities fit strategically with the AI sector Deal announced by the UK Government.

“Globally, AI interests are on the rise especially in the USA, China and Europe, whilst the global revenues from the AI market is projected at circa 90 billion USD in 2025 in tune with the increasing global demand for more sustainable and resource efficient solutions. SCEnAT 4.0 framework and platform are well-positioned for such worldwide scale-up rapidly.”

SCEnAT 4.0 has evolved from the original SCEnAT Cloud based tool, powered by Microsoft Azure, which has helped companies reduce the environmental impact of their supply chains.

The collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Microsoft progressed the tool into SCEnAT+ and SCEnATi – funded by the EU – which has the addition of big data analytics and benchmarking capabilities along with Power BI integration, a Microsoft business analytics service.

Anthony Bitar, Cloud Solution Architect, Microsoft UK, said: “Policy makers and industry leaders can exploit the prediction experiencer from SCEnAT 4.0 to have a deeper understanding of the implications of policy and investment decisions.

“We are excited by how the combination of Microsoft’s Azure cloud and AI services are being used in the SCEnAT 4.0 platform to de-risk and visualise the relationship of economic, environmental and social impact from the way we produce and consume resources.”

UoS AREC Research Centre collaboration with world leading Imerys and Penn State University (One of the many visits / meetings in 2018)

ImerysPennStateAREC in conjunction with the wider UoS hosted a very successful visit with Imerys, a world leader in mineral-based specialities for Industry with headquarters in France. Imerys delivers high value-added functional solutions to many sectors, from processing industries to building products and consumer goods. This partnership builds from the work between Prof Lenny Koh and Prof Ian Reaney with Penn State University.Imerys have signed the French policy/legislation meaning they need to reduce their C02 footprint, they will follow up with discussions regarding SCEnAT and how this tool can help. They are also interested in AREC’s Imerysvisitcapabilities regarding circular economy and in the diversity of project work AREC has under various topics. This research collaboration will enable positive exchange both ways, AREC’s global network sharing and Imerys existing projects with Penn State. Sheffield University is coordinating the partnership with involvement of team members across various faculties.

There are exciting opportunities for AREC USA working with Penn State and Imerys and there are talks happening around establishing a joint research project on plastic, bio-based materials and polymer LCA. There are opportunities to connect agriculture and bio energy researchers (including sharing of database) on joint LCA project. With Imerys as an industry partner, joint LCA collaborative research with a focus on green mining would have mutual interest and benefit. Other projects such as seed funding to pump prime collaborative LCA research are on the horizon. The toxicology footprint Nature paper has been shared with with NSF, relevant industry and policy makers and the UK REF impact case study measurement has also been shared. Connecting social sciences (urban, transport, supply chain, humanitarian etc.) researchers in joint LCA projects has exciting opportunities for mutual benefits in resource efficiency and sustainability.

4th February 2019

AREC China: Unveiling ceremony for the Sino-British "One Belt, One Road" Advanced Resource Efficiency Research Centre.

On December 20, 2018, the “One Belt, One Road” Capacity Cooperation Centre of the Zhongguancun Haixing Promotion Association (Capacity Cooperation Centre) and the Advanced Resource Efficiency Research Centre of the University of Sheffield (AREC) jointly established the Sino-British “Belt and Road” Advanced Resource Efficiency Research Centre; the unveiling ceremony was held at the Constellation Accelerator.

ARECChinaPan Jian, Director of AREC China, Associate Dean of DRTT Research Institute, Yao Zhenlei, Director of Market Development Project of DRTT Research Institute, Yang Chengxiu, Secretary General of the Capacity Cooperation Centre, Deputy Secretary-General Meng Wei, Zhao Jianghe, Secretary-General of Zhongxingcun Haixing Strategic Emerging Industry Promotion Association, and Deputy Secretary-General Zhang Wei attended the unveiling ceremony.

The UK is the first Western power to apply for the “One Belt, One Road” Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the second country to invest in the AIIB's special fund after China. In recent years, the Sino-British “Belt and Road” cooperation has been full of power, and has achieved “early harvest” in terms of policy communication, trade smoothness, infrastructure connectivity, capital finance, and personnel training. Since the end of 2017, the British government has appointed the “Belt and Road” special envoy to set up an expert council to announce the support of the £25 billion “Belt and Road” Asian project. In the future, the two countries will expand their cooperation in terms of scale and level together with a wider scope in the field of “Belt and Road”.

In this context, the establishment of the Sino-British “Belt and Road” Advanced Resource Efficiency Research Centre has far-reaching significance. The future centre will rely on the park space and industrial resources of the “One Belt, One Road” capacity cooperation centre of the Zhongguancun Haixing Promotion Association, and actively promote the joint innovation of Sino-British science and technology through activities such as research cooperation, international science and technology innovation forum, doctoral workstations, and international roadshows. The transformation of international scientific and technological achievements is committed to building the centre into a Sino-British cooperation centre for science and technology innovation and a platform for international high-end talent exchange.

1st February 2019

UK scientists led by Sheffield University working with engineers to reduce food waste in developing countries

Scientists and engineers in the UK are working to use ideas from advanced space technology to improve the lives of farmers and reduce food waste in developing countries. This research forms part of the AREC research centre at the University of Sheffield within the Agritech and Food theme.

Due to a warmer climate and a lack of technology, expertise and infrastructure, developing countries can waste up to 40% of food, the majority being fresh produce. Farmers are unable to insulate and cool or refrigerate food after is harvested resulting in spoilage on the journey between the farm and the consumer.

Dr Sonal Choudhary at the University of Sheffield Management School is leading a team of researchers made up of both academia and industry including representatives from Sheffield University Management School (SUMS), Hull University (HUBS), STFC’s RAL Space and commercial cryogenics firm Cryox. The team are working on utilising STFC’s expertise in space science and cryogenics, thermal engineering and analysing large datasets to improve the efficiency of the cold food supply chain in India with the aim of reducing the amount of waste, both in terms of food and energy.

UK expertise in cryogenics, the science of extremely cold temperatures, and of thermal engineering could hold the key to bolstering the food chain by reducing the amount of loss from farm-to-fork and by doing so, helping farmers raise their income.

Dr Choudhary said: “There are a number of practical and logistical challenges for farmers in developing countries. Once they have harvested the fruit or vegetables, how can they keep it fresh before it reaches the consumer? They are often unable to afford refrigerated vehicles, and rely solely on traditional methods such as transporting the produce through open trucks, rickshaws, motorcycles and even bicycles. Given the ambient temperature of 40-45oC in many parts of India, a good thermal insulation along with cryogenics technology could provide us with a viable option to reduce food loss from farm-to-fork and improve the cold chain efficiency.”

Dr Bryan Shaughnessy, head of the Thermal Engineering Group at STFC RAL said: “We design systems to withstand the harsh extremes of temperature in space. By taking the technology and expertise we apply in developing instruments for use in space missions and instead looking at how to apply it in assisting in keeping food cooler in warm climates I believe we have an opportunity here to find fairly low cost solutions to what can be a very expensive problem.”

The project has has funding from the STFC Food Network+, which brings together researchers from STFC and different disciplines in the agri-food sector with the aim of solving some of the world’s greatest food sustainability challenges.

Find out more about the network and the other projects being funded here.

1st February 2019

ReTraCE: Realising the Transition towards the Circular Economy

The University of Sheffield AREC Research Centre will lead a €4 million research project and train a new cohort of thought leaders to drive the transition towards a more sustainable mode of production and consumption in Europe over the coming decades. This is part of the AREC Waste recycling and Circular Economy research theme.

Realising the Transition to the Circular Economy (ReTraCE) is a research project funded by Horizon 2020 EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks and will support the implementation of the European Commission’s Circular Economy strategy.

A consortium of ten beneficiaries is led by the University of Sheffield and includes seven academic and three non-academic groups.

Professor Andrea Genovese, from the University of Sheffield’s Management School and Principal Investigator of the ReTraCE initiative, said:

“This project will directly facilitate the implementation of the recently adopted ambitious Circular Economy strategy of the European Commission, which is closely linked to Sustainable Development Goals – the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Looking beyond the current take-make-dispose extractive industrial model, a circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy. It aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits, where products are kept in use for as long as possible, with value recovery and regeneration at the end of their useful life.”

The multi-disciplinary project will draw upon research that will advance the current understanding of the circular economy from economic, environmental and social perspectives, providing policy insights and implications for practice.

The network will design and deliver world-class multidisciplinary training to 15 early stage researchers, offering them an extended and valuable program of international exchanges and secondments through a wide network of partner organisations – from public, private and third sector.

Call for applications

The project has a call for applications for 15 Early Stage Researcher positions funded by the EU H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 scheme. Find out more about the project on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

27th January 2019

AREC UK hosted strategic partners from China – CECC/CCIEE and DRTTA

ChinesevisitorsJan2019Professor Lenny Koh welcomed our strategic partners DRTT and CECC/CCIEE to Sheffield University. Ken Pan (DRTTA Director of international collaboration, Head of AREC China Hub in Beijing) together with Angela Lu (CECC/CCIEE in Beijing) travelled to Sheffield to deepen their partnership with AREC through a series of workshops and meetings.

Four days of meetings commenced with the AREC Research meeting. Mutual areas of interest such as each AREC Hubs, LC3M and SCEnAT 4.0, Circular Economy, Economic and Management PhD research were discussed. Professor Neil Hyatt joined the group to discuss URI Energy including civil nuclear followed by N8 Agrifood including URI Food with Professor Peter Jackson, Dr Seyed Ebrahimi and Dr Harry Langford.

EllaArmitageA tour of Energy 2050 / URI Energy at the Ella Armitage building and Lab hosted by Professor Lin Ma was followed by a tour of the PACT Facility at Beighton hosted by Dr Kris Milkowski. This was then followed by a cultural visit and stay in Matlock in Derbyshire to see the start of the industrial revolution (sponsored by Teresa Hitchcock, Senior Partner, DLA Piper).

AMRCVisitOn Thursday 17th January, our partners attended a breakfast and networking event with key stakeholders from local/regional government (Sheffield City Council and Sheffield City Region), business and academic hosted by DLA Piper. The breakfast and networking event was attended by Cllr Jack Scott (Cabinet Member for Transport and Development, Sheffield City Council), and board members of Sheffield City Region Sustainability Partnership, Sheffield Green City Partnership, representative from Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, business/industry leaders and University representatives. This was an excellent opportunity to build on the Sino-British strategic platform for key areas of collaborations, and mutual appreciation and high level dialogues were conducted. Following this, the AREC Executive Board met: Professor Lenny Koh (Director of AREC and Head of AREC Global and UK), Professor Ian Reaney (Head of AREC USA), Professor Panos Ketikidis – Vice President of Research and Innovation at CITY College (Head of AREC Europe), Ken Pan (Head of AREC China) and Angela Lu (CECC/CCIEE). This meeting provided the opportunity to review and forward plan for the AREC Hubs; and discuss potential collaboration opportunities. Discussion of topics of mutual interest resulted in agreement of win-win strategies. Afterwards our partners visited the New Era Development including CUBI hosted by Jerry Cheung (Sheffield Leading Businessman) and Richard Caborn (Former MP for Sheffield Central, and Former Minister of Sport).

Factory2050On the final day, Professor Lenny Koh introduced our partners to the Vice President (Research) Professor David Petley at Firth Court, VP (Research) Office. Mutual strategic appreciation and high level dialogue took place between our China partners (CECC/CCIEE and DRTTA) and the Vice President, with warm interest in deepening our partnership between UK and China. This was followed by a tour of Factory 2050 hosted by Phil Yates and a tour of the AMRC Factory of the Future and AMRC Composites Centre hosted by Elijah Sargent. The AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre was the venue for a Blockchain and Transport workshop hosted by Dr Victor Shi and a Research proposal was presented by Dr Michel Le Lerre. The visit closed with a Partnership, knowledge exchange and technology transfer, research and innovation, commercialisation (IP) meeting with our China partners hosted by Chris Baker and Ruth Hambleton at the University Research Office.


25th January 2019

Niger Delta Research Initiative 2019

Building on previous initiatives at the University of Sheffield, the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) at the University of Sheffield is organizing a one day workshop to explore opportunities for high impact research that will synergize initiatives across eco-system remediation and preservation, specialist supply chain management, low carbon economic growth models and low carbon energy efficiencies. The workshop is aimed at promoting open discussions across a spectrum of interests around the Niger Delta with the aim of developing a collaborative consortium of partners to develop and deliver on high impact research.

To book a place

12th November 2018

AREC Brochure 2018 is available in the downloads section.

 7th November 2018

Agrifood research and innovation going global

LennyKoh_IAICAREC Director Prof Lenny Koh delivered a keynote speech 'Agrifood System: Now and the Future" at the 3rd International Agriculture Innovation Conference (IAIC 2018) in Beijing, China. This conference is sponsored by Zhongnong Futong and China Agricultural University.

IAIC2018Speakers from across the World at this conference exchanged the latest knowledge, research findings and innovation related to agritech, agriculture and food chain. A tour at Zhongnong Futong and a visit to the China agritech innovation park also took place. Some prominent discussions included agriculture 4.0, smart agriculture, and agriculture policy.

AREC UK - China deepened their partnership with China

Lenny_Koh_Ken_PanLed by AREC Director Professor Lenny Koh and Ken Pan (DRTT Director of international collaboration, Director of AREC China Hub), AREC UK-China deepened their partnership with China through strategic collaborative frameworks with leading organisations in China including DRTT, CCIEE, BRCCC, Zhongguancun (China’s Silicon Valley) Z-Park, BeijingETown Science and Technology Industry New Zone, AnyTrust/CIFS, East Mind, Supoin, China Transinfo, China BOE, Tellhow Intelligent Engineering and Smart City, Sinoiov and CZK.

Through this partnership and collaborative frameworks, win-win global co-operations, strategies and programmes on prioritised areas of AREC research and China policy and industry impact form the successful outcomes. In particular, the mutual areas of interests include 5G, big data, industrial internet, AI, blockchain, IoT, intelligent supply chain, supply chain finance, industrial revolution, new materials and advanced manufacturing, robotics and autonomy, agrifood, transport and logistics, sustainable energy system, environmental science and sustainability etc. The major policies influenced include Belt and Road Initiative, Made in China 2025, and China 13th five-year plan. This sets the Sino-British strategic platform for several key areas of collaborations identified which include partners from around the World; and have already delivered major global significant impact on policy, industry and society.

Some of the highlights and examples from the visits, meetings/workshops in China by Professor Lenny Koh, Ken Pan and all partners are summarised below:

Belt and Road Capacity Cooperation Centre – Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

AREC_BRCCCUnder the strategic cooperative frameworks between AREC UK-China and BRCCC, visit, workshop and meeting at BRCCC, Zhongguancun (China’s Silion Valley) Z-Park, and Zhongguancun Haixing OBOR took place in Haidian District, Beijing, China.
Mutual interests, insights and win-win plans and strategies were discussed and agreed. Deputy Secretary General Dr Xin Meng introduced BRCCC and BRI work, Director Jianghe Zhao introduced Zhongguancun (China’s Silion Valley) Z-Park and Zhongguancun Haixing OBOR, CEO of AnyTrust/CIFS Mr Yang provided an industrial view. Professor Lenny Koh and Ken Pan introduced AREC and shared the major research portfolio relevant to China and BRI. CCIEE (Mr Chen and Angela Lu), DRTT (Ken Pan) and AREC (Lenny Koh and Ken Pan) captured the strategic impact relevant to key policy from AREC research including scale up, international strategies and cooperation plan with key stakeholders involved. This involved CCIEE, DRTT, AREC, BRCCC, CZK, AnyTrust, Zhongguancun (China’s Silion Valley) Z-Park, and Zhongguancun Haixing OBOR.

AREC_BRCCC_2BRI is a major (USD 900bn) infrastructural and international cooperation initiative that boost economic, social and environmental development for the benefit of everyone. The global economy needs fuelling of sustainable resources to underpin sustainable growth that connect partners in global network and supply chain. BRI success informed by AREC research in partnership with key organisations and stakeholders have resulted in major global impact. For instance, the 40 years reform in China (NDRC) has witnessed tremendous growth, development and change towards a new China. The new China today is opened to the World and welcome international cooperation and partnership. From sustainability viewpoint, this fits intellectually to the theoretical framework of a truly resource efficient system and model championed by AREC.

Supoin – Intelligent supply chain

Gang_WangWith Mr Gang Wang of Supoin (HQ in Shenzhen), the focus is on IoT, 5G, big data, mobile intelligent terminals technology, scanners technology, digital twin for garment industry, medical industry, retailing, logistics, manufacturing, finance, tobacco, book and food, as well as public affair initiated by government and other sectors. This includes both hardware and software. Working with Supoin, major industry impact on new type of intelligent supply chain and new model informed by AREC research including its SCEnAT suites platform took the product and service innovation and market of Supoin to the next level. This involved Supoin, AREC and DRTT.

East Mind – Agrifood, rural development and poverty alleviation

Jungang_ZhangWith East Mind’s CEO Jungang Zhang, the focus is on platform for agricultural and technology innovation, intelligent agriculture research and consulting, training and development, “Belt and Road” agriculture. Informed by AREC’s research, the sheep supply chain in Inner Mongolia has been transformed by digital platform empowering farmers to access resources e.g. feed, vaccine for livestock and credit, like never before. Such platform has led to significant social impact and it is an excellent example of an inclusive and sustainable supply chain which have directly addressed the poverty of this community in the rural areas in China. This is a key part of the 13th five-year plan. This involved AREC, DRTT and East Mind.

Tellhow Intelligent Engineering and Smart City – Energy, sustainable and smart system for Future City

TellHow_Intelligent_EngineeringA visit to and meeting/workshop at Tellhow Intelligent Engineering and Smart City have opened eyes to some of the major sustainability research implementation in Smart_City China. This ranges from renewable energy technology and system including solar PV to ways to power an energy-efficient and low carbon smart city. AREC’s research related to this domain has strong resonance, especially the SCEnAT suites platform adoption for city scale performance as well as how the overall system interconnects design, planning, technology, use and assessment. This involved Tellhow Intelligent Engineering and Smart City, DRTT and AREC.

 BeijingETown – Science and Technology Industry Park

BeijingETownA visit to and meeting/workshop at BeijingETown, a prominent Science and Technology Industry Park in Beijing, near the upcoming new airport in Beijing (the World largest) witnessed the research link and global impact from AREC on Made in China 2025 policy and the fantastic innovation in China that drive supply chains and city transformation towards a resource efficient system. The innovation in biotech and healthcare, aerospace/aviation, transport and logistics, automotive, new energy and battery, robotics, semiconductor, advanced materials and manufacturing and so on with strong research base attracted international investment and industry leaders such as Mercedes, Bayer, Honeywell, Shell, IBM, Microsoft, Toshiba, Coca-Cola, DHL, Corning etc., and along with China own industry leaders working in a harmonious system in delivering the major win-win success. This involved BeijingETown, DRTT and AREC.

China BOE – Advanced materials and manufacturing

BestOnEarthA visit to and meeting/workshop at Best on Earth (BOE), China largest screen manufacturer and OLED producer is truly inspirational. Their glass, screen, OLED materials and technology are used in many of the World well known TVs, mobile devices, PV panels, computers, phones, wearable and flexible digital displays. Their advanced materials not only have permeated into the global industry and supply chain, but with 8678 patents in 2017 demonstrating the central role of research and innovation BOE_OLEDin BOE's DNA. Their manufacturing processes are fully automated and robotised. AREC's research and model impacted on some of the sustainable and life cycle thinking in their systems, created major achievements and improvements. This involved DRTT, BOE and AREC.

China Transinfo – Advanced digitalisation, smart transport and big data

TransInfo_Technology_Corp.A visit to and meeting/workshop at China TransInfo Technology Corp. also demonstrated the link and impact of AREC research and model (e.g. SCEnAT suites platform) that shaped some of the concepts. Transinfo provides intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and related technology solutions for the transportation industry and key organisations (multi-modal) in China. Transinfo develops various applications in transportation, digital city, and land and resource filling systems based on geographic information systems (GIS) technologies. Its ITS include transportation planning information system, electronic toll collection, traffic information integration and exchange platform, traffic emergency command centre, intelligent traffic management platform and intelligent parking system. AI and big data through GIS and satellites support advanced analytics which have led to major efficiency improvement across the system at national and international scales. This involved CCIEE, DRTT, Sinoiov, Transinfo and AREC.

DRTT’s new office, AREC China hub co-location

LennyKohOur strategic partner DRTT has a new office in the Beijing Science Park, China, where AREC China hub is co-located within it. The first-class facility includes office space, meeting rooms, conference facility, seminar rooms, executive rooms, open space for networking etc. Researchers and partners will be able to use this outstanding facility.

25th October 2018

 AREC Sustainability Workshop

ProfessoJapanvisitors1r Lenny Koh welcomed a team of visitors and representatives from the Management School to a Sustainability workshop Monday 22nd October. The visitors included Prof Tetsuo Yamada and Dr Hayate Irie from the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo, Dr Jiayao Hu from Coventry University, Prof Kim Hua Tan from the University of Nottingham and Dr. Mike Tse of York University.

Prof Koh welcomed the group and introduced the Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) and the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC). Prof Yamada presented sustainability related research in Yamada-lab and Dr Hayate discussed his research project. Dr Jiayao Hu and Prof Kim Hua Tan presented “A study of Chinese restaurants’ reverse logistics: issues and challenges of kitchen waste disposal” and this was followed by a group discussion relating to collaboration between the UK and Japan. 

19th September 2018

AREC Newsletter 2018

 AREC Newsletter 2018 is available in the downloads section.

24th July 2018

Professor Koh visits Shanxi AI and Big Data Research Institute

Shanxi121st July, AREC Director Prof Lenny Koh accompanied by DRTTA (Director of international collaboration Ken Pan, and Associate director of DRTTA Zhenlei Yao) visited Shanxi AI and Big data research institute, they have discussed collaborations related to AI, Big data technologies, next generation tech skills development.

Shanxi2In the afternoon, the director Runlan Cui of Shanxi AI and Big data research institute demonstrated to AREC and DRTTA about their work related to big data project in various fields, such as industrial applications, urban geography, ecological and environmental monitoring, medical, iNews smart news. The theoretical and outcomes of these project were shared and they also showed Lenny the management model of the centre itself, such as skills development and management process of the centre.

Shanxi3After the demonstration, the Director Runlan Cui from Shanxi AI and Big Data Research Institute introduced the service tenet, work mission, development goals and operation mode of Shanxi Intelligent Big Data Research Institute, as well as the current research and development of big data key technologies, big data academic research, big data industry standard research, and solving big data industry. They provide technical research support for innovation-driven development in the big data sector across the province and the country.

Shanxi4Professor Koh shared how AREC promotes understanding of complex supply chains and proposes solutions using cross-disciplinary research in cross-industry supply chain management and information systems, including the development of digital cloud-based software tools (SCEnAT Suite) to support the transformation of traditional supply chains to high performance and sustainable supply chains. Through the use of the SCEnAT software into the digital supply chain life cycle thinking, it has been widely used in various organisations, technologies and systems.

The partnership of AREC and DRTTA will create a positive impact for transformational research on sustainable supply chains and global resource efficiency, specific activities focus on global resource security, advanced materials, new energy, agri-tech, water treatment, waste and circular economy and big data. Key impact activities in the areas of providing high quality research resources, leading policy research model and industrial consulting, Big Data, AI and educational training for comprehensive service solutions for the partners.

A very successful visit where all parties have expressed a strong interest for future collaboration in areas that have mutual interests.

9th July 2018

AREC UK working with A*Star Singapore

Supported by the Singapore-UK Commonwealth Innovation Fellowship, Scientist III Hsienhui Khoo from A*STAR Singapore Institute of Chemical and Engineering Science (ICES) collaborate with Prof Koh from Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), The University of Sheffield UK on a ground breaking Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) research initiative.

Through this collaboration, bio-derived chemical supply chains, sustainability assessment, and new tool development are amongst the key outcomes. Potential companies of interests such as pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries are testers and users of our research output, building from the historically strong link to this industry in Singapore. During her attachment, Hsienhui Khoo presented a seminar entitled: “Is green chemistry sustainable?” using a life cycle/supply chain approach to investigate the outcomes of some selected green chemistry principles. Her talk has attracted major interest across the University from Science, Engineering and Social Science, as part of a wider interest in our LCA sustainability and energy research portfolio institutionally.

Hsienhuitalk250xGlobally, it is becoming increasingly common for pharmaceutical and chemical industries to adopt sustainability practices in their business operations. Aligned with the aim for more sustainable manufacturing processes or products, the green chemistry concept encourages the application of environmentally benign chemical synthesis, or alternative processes for pollution prevention.

In her talk, the true environmental benefits of green chemistry were questioned together with the use of a life cycle or supply chain perspective where issues of mass balances, energy use, and a whole range of environmental impacts have to be addressed. As an example, in place of Green Chemistry Principle 2 (Atom Economy), the concept of “life cycle atom economy’ was introduced. The outcome was compared against the conventional method of calculating atom economy of a one-stage synthesis.

In other cases, Green Chemistry Principle 7 (Use of Renewable Feedstock), considers replacement of fossil-based chemicals with bio-derived chemicals. By extending the one-step synthesis route to a larger boundary, the production of such bio-derived chemicals starts with biomass growth and generation. This involves the application of energy and fertilizer uses at the farm, leading to further environmental impacts.

Professor Paul Sharratt from A*STAR Singapore (ICES) visit The University of Sheffield

PaulSharrattProfessor Paul Sharratt from the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), A*STAR, Singapore visited The University Sheffield on 24th May 2018, welcomed by Professor Koh, Director of AREC. During his visit he met with staff from the Faculty of Engineering – Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Faculty of Social Science - Management School and AREC. Professor James Litster from CBE and Professor Paul Sharratt had detailed discussion establishing collaborative initiatives.

A*Star is a partner of The University of Sheffield, with a long standing research and exchange track record and activities internationally. The areas cover science and engineering such as materials characterisation, chemical processes, and polymer synthesis driven by developments in sustainability.

3rd July 2018

AREC Global: Policy and industry benefits in China

AREC in partnership with World Academy of China Development Research Think Tank (DRTTA) held a successful event in Beijing, China on the 28 June 2018.

Professor Lenny Koh’s speech outlined AREC’s vision to reengineer future supply chains by integrating efficiency and sustainability into strategic decision making with the aim of improved competitiveness internationally. Professor Lenny Koh went on to explain AREC’s mission of creating a world leading supply chain with resource efficiency and sustainability at the heart of its infrastructure.

Professor Lenny Koh explained that AREC’s cross-disciplinary research and collaboration with partners in government and industry is resulting in major impacts on policy, industry and society internationally.

Professor Lenny Koh said “We are very honoured to have established such a strong partnership in China with the DRTTA leading to major policy, industry, economic, environmental and societal impact.”

AREC’s partnership with DRTTA provides the platform for sharing of learning and exchange to advance the impact and collaboration in mutual areas of interest and priorities between the UK and China. Under AREC China, two major achievements include:

  • Global Intelligent Supply Chain Big Data Research Centre in China in collaboration with DRTTA, Any Trust, Tsinghua University, Macquarie University and University of Auckland.
  • Founding member of the Industrial Blockchain Alliance led by Tsinghua University in collaboration with leading industry such as JD, CIIC and Supoin.

AREC methodologies and tools such as Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) have been adopted by world industrial leaders as well as innovative SMEs and varying level of government organisations. They have demonstrated major global impact on resource efficiency, regulatory compliance, improved industrial supply chain competitiveness and increased productivity.

Professor Lenny Koh also shared her work on Blockchain technologies for transport with Transport Systems Catapult. She commented aligning Bockchain’s potential integration with Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the Cloud will open up enormous opportunities to advance how we design, operate and deliver public and private services globally. This includes:

  • For the One Belt One Road Initiative, to adopt blockchain technology for multi-modal travels experience for  passengers and freight handling across borders for businesses with seamless transaction.
  • For Made in China 2025, to create intelligent supply chains by upgrading to high value manufacturing environments with smart sensors, 5G across supply networks.
  • For the economic and environmental resource efficient model for China’s NDRC 13th five-year plan, to adopt environmental sustainability reporting and integration with international standards.

2nd July 2018

New deal with industry to secure UK civil nuclear future and drive down cost of energy for customers

AREC also welcome the civil nuclear sector deal.

29th June2018

Professor Koh welcomes Dr Gate Pichawadee Kittipanya-ngam to Sheffield University Management School.

LennyandGate250Dr Gate Pichawadee Kittipanya-ngam - Assistant Professor of Operations Management from Thammasat University Business School in Thailand visited Sheffield University Management School where she gave a talk as part of the SCEnATi training.

Gatetalk250Her talk “Investigating food supply chain sustainability in Thailand: A comprehensive study of different rice supply chains” was particularly relevant as this collaborative project will incorporate the use of the SCEnATi. The project will

investigate the environmental impact of various rice supply chains using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method.

LucySmithSCEnATi250The SCEnATi on Microsoft Azure Cloud was run on the Microsoft Surface Hub. The SCEnATi training was run by Dr Adrian Solomon and Lucy Smith from the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC). They showed the mapping process from data input (e.g. with integration with Office 365 Excel), process mapping of supply chains/selection of similar supply chains through to computation of the environmental impact of supply chains. The environmental impact was shown not just as estimation of carbon emissions but also taking into account a wide range of environmental indicators. Example output was presented:

  • A carbon map together with a results dashboard providing an overview of the data.
  • Business Intelligence (integrated with Microsoft Power BI) such as customised reporting.

20th June 2018

Fully funded PhD Scholarships

The Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) would like to invite applications to the two themes of fully funded PhD scholarships advertised (which will be based at SUMS), supported by the Sheffield University Management School (SUMS).

Theme 1: Waste recycling, resource efficiency and circular economy - apply

Theme 2: Industry 4.0 and intelligent future systems - apply

18th June 2018

Investigating food supply chain sustainability in Thailand: A comprehensive study of different rice supply chains

Dr Gate Pichawadee Kitti Panya-ngam, Assistant Processor of Operations Management from Thammasat University Business School in Thailand will be vising Sheffield between 27-29 June.

Gate will be giving a talk entitled ‘Investigating food supply chain sustainability in Thailand: A comprehensive study of different rice supply chains’ prior to the SCEnATi training session scheduled on the 29 June from 2pm – 5pm in the Hitchcock Boardroom in SUMS. The talk and the training will be part of this 3 hours block.

Book a place

7th June 2018

Blockchain could bridge the gap to integrated transport, according to new report

•University of Sheffield and Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) report studies the disruptive potential of Blockchain in the transport industry
•TSC is calling for government and industry to explore the technology’s potential uses in transport to ensure the UK stays ahead of latest developments

Blockchain could provide the underpinnings for a future integrated transport system, without the need for large and costly centralised control mechanisms, according to a new paper from the University of Sheffield and the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC).

Read "The full article".

Download the full report "Blockchain disruption in transport: Are you decentralised yet?"

SCEnAT 4.0 for Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 and Revolution

Industry 4.0 has been presented as the latest industrial revolution. It has a major role in transforming the World’s industrial processes within organisations and across the supply chains.

This can be achieved using large-scale Machine to Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) deployments to increase efficiency and productivity in supply chains across sectors. Factories will become increasingly autonomous with closer integration between machines and workforce, providing a seamless process with minimal waste. Industry 4.0 will use the IoT and cyber-physical systems such as sensors to collect data. Such advances enable big data analytics and the creation of intelligent supply chains.

In the recent Build 2018 Conference, Microsoft has set their vision and priority in the role of future technology, their advancements, new tools and Cloud services to help developers create a better, safer, more just World. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the heart of these advances, which brings together societal need, Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge. In the next 10 years, billions of everyday devices will be connected — smart devices that can see, listen, reason, predict and more.

Policy Implications

The UK ‘Made Smarter’ review has identified key requirements to support the digitalisation of manufacturing as shown below:

• the increased pace of adoption of industrial digital technologies,
• the faster innovation of these technologies,
• the need for stronger and more ambitious leadership to transform UK industry.

Industrial Digitalisation Technologies (IDTs) are key to both improving prosperity and reducing the environmental impact of industry. IDTs can improve the resource efficiency of industrial processes. IDTs can perform a crucial role in developing a resilient UK industrial base that can ride out disruptions in resource availability, as well as making the UK industrial system more sustainable over the long-term.

China have developed a policy known as “Made in China 2025” to boost high value manufacturing in their supply chain. This spans across targeting strategic materials innovation, digitalisation, energy and transport revolution (such as electrification) and so on. Such policy links with major development of science and innovation park across China, driving closer collaboration between knowledge providers such as universities and research centres with industry. AREC China (based in the Science Park in Beijing) was launched in 2018. This provides a strong foundation to enable co-development of new advances that make huge impact in China industry and Made in China 2025 policy.

SCEnAT 4.0 for Industry 4.0

By eliminating inefficiencies across the supply chain, supply chain productivity will be improved. To achieve this, intelligent data management will play a critical role. New digital technologies are enabling new levels of increased connectivity and the more effective use of data. Advances in technology are enabling more data to be collected more quickly and this data can be easily accessed from multiple sites, safely shared between different partners in a supply chain, and more effectively analysed.

These technologies allow manufacturers to respond to increasing consumer demands for faster delivery and more personalised products and services. A transition in the way that supply chains operate from the current linear supply chains (with limited use of data and new technologies) to a digitally connected supply chain network supported by these technologies.

UK leaving the EU (Brexit) will open doors to international collaboration and trade deals opportunities. Such environment requires integrated intelligent supply chain and future network and system capable of seamless transactions and management of flow of assets, goods and services (tangible and intangible).

Based on the policies mentioned in this document and industrial need, SCEnAT 4.0 for Industry 4.0 which embrace Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) solution will transform future supply chain to digitally connected system and network. AREC is working with key partners on these, and more details of its release will be made public in due course.

Blockchain enabling Transparency in Supply Chain

Blockchain the technology that underpins Bitcoin has provided an alternative currency for monetary exchange. This is achieved by shifting the trust provided by the financial intermediaries to ‘machines’. The machine enabled trust in digital information exchange has wider business applications wherein Blockchain is also referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). More recently the technology found its application for supply chain use cases.

Why use Blockchain technology in supply chains?

The growing consumer awareness, increasing regulatory pressure and, changing business dynamics has raised the bar on the level of transparency that businesses provide and have in their supply chain network. This has led business to digitalize their supply chain to foster transparency which is limited even in some matured supply chain networks. In this drive towards digitalization, Blockchain is being evaluated as one of the potential technology to enable transparency in the supply chain.

How can Blockchain technology enable transparency in the supply chain?

At its core, Blockchain works on distributed database principles such that data is available to all members in the business network. Blockchain does not stop with the distribution of data; the technology promises authenticity of the data through the use of advanced data encryption and data validation algorithms. This improves the availability and quality of the information exchanged in the supply network — the key for businesses embarking on the transparency journey. Moreover, the use of smart contract feature of Blockchain can automate certain business transactions that can enhance transparency and trust in trading partners relationship. For instance, online payment for the supplier can be triggered when acknowledgement of the goods is received.

Is Blockchain able to solve the transparency problem in the supply chain?

Blockchain is only the enabler to achieve the end goal — Transparency. This cannot be achieved without healthy participation from supply chain network members to share information. One way to encourage this participation is through finding a favourable response for members in the supply network to the question — ‘What's in it for me to use Blockchain?’. This requires finding the right use case and designing the system such that benefits of adopting Blockchain are fairly distributed and not inclined primarily towards the dominant partner in the network.

Paper Cup recycling and disposal

There is extensive debate in industry and increasing public interest in the environmental impact of the paper cup.
Costa have commissioned an independent research with AREC, part of the University of Sheffield to understand:

1. The recycling / disposal route of the paper cup.

2. Recyclability of the paper cup.

Please see the latest news from Costa Coffee:

Costa Coffee vows "cup recycling revolution"

Costa aims to lead industry transformation with pledge to recycle half a billion coffee cups


Prof Koh will be speaking at the Sustainable Supply Chains conference in London

27th June at the Constellation Suite, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1AX

Book a place at the conference

Prof Koh will be speaking at the Festival of Debate event: "How could Emergency Climate action benefit Sheffield"

7th June 6-8.30pm at the Council Room at Firth Court

Tickets available via

Is green chemistry sustainable? - Talk by Hsienhui Khoo, Singapore Commonwealth Fellow in Innovation & A*Star Scientist III

Date and time: 10 May 2018, 2pm – 3pm
Host: Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC)
Venue: Sheffield University Management School, Meeting room 1 & 2, Floor E
Book a place

Using A Life Cycle/Supply Chain Approach to Investigate the Outcomes of Some Selected Green Chemistry Principles

Globally, it is becoming increasingly common for pharmaceutical and chemical industries to adopt sustainability practices in their business operations. Aligned with the aim for more sustainable manufacturing processes or products, the green chemistry concept encourages the application of environmentally benign chemical synthesis, or alternative processes for pollution prevention.

Theoretically, applications of the 12 Green Chemistry Principles attempt to ensure cleaner production routes that lead to “greener” chemicals or materials. However, within the context of green chemistry, the true measure of the greenness of any processes or products is not clearly defined.

In this talk, the true environmental benefits of green chemistry will be questioned with the use of a life cycle or supply chain perspective where issues of mass balances, energy use, and a whole range of environmental impacts have to be addressed. As an example, in place of Green Chemistry Principle 2 (Atom Economy), the concept of “life cycle atom economy’ will be introduced. The outcome will be compared against the conventional method of calculating atom economy of a one-stage synthesis.

In other cases, Green Chemistry Principle 7 (Use of Renewable Feedstock), considers that replacement of fossil-based chemicals with bio-derived chemicals. By extending the one-step synthesis route to a larger boundary, the production of such bio-derived chemicals starts with biomass growth and generation. This involves the application of energy and fertilizer uses at the farm, leading to further environmental impacts.

AREC DRTT World Academy Partnership

AREC partnership with DRTT World Academy of China Development Research Think Tank (DRTT) will create positive impact to global resource efficiency and supply chain sustainability. Being a subsidiary of China Development Research Centre of the State Council, DRTT focuses on providing services covering: high-quality information, top-notch policy research and industry consulting, big data, education and training, conference and industry park. The partnership put it in the unique position to provide comprehensive solutions that benefit all stakeholders, address environmental concerns and issues of resource efficiency.

Professor Helen Li, Dean and chief economist of DRTT World Academy, said: “The landing of AREC China with DRTT World Academy at its Beijing Science Park working in partnership will cement our strong international relation between China and UK, in addressing the world resource efficiency and sustainability challenges across global supply chains required by industry, government and society.”

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of AREC, said: “We are absolutely delighted with this partnership between AREC and DRTT World Academy which will pave the way for major impact in China, enabled through our research and knowledge exchange. In the form of AREC China, it will become our local contact point to stimulate major collaborative projects and initiatives between UK and China, working with industry, government and academia.”

The Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre’s (AREC) mission and vision advocate efficient and responsible use of resources throughout the supply chain across sectors, industries and governments. Initially focussing on some of the world biggest resource security such as advanced materials and manufacturing, energy and civil nuclear, agrifood and water, AREC expands its portfolio to examine those challenges in the automotive, mobility & transport, construction, digitalisation, Industry 4.0, autonomous system, blockchain, intelligence management, waste recycling and circular economy domain. Our key question is with these advances of science and technology, are they resource efficient and sustainable? In the pursuit of our mission and vison, AREC supports the development of resource sustainable supply chains by proposing new ways of reducing risk for stakeholders in overcoming the challenges of resource availability.

AREC’s approach uses a combination of methods, tools, models, technologies, processes and systems accordingly to address the specific challenges. Where applicable, cross learning takes place where knowledge sharing occurred. AREC owns intellectual properties of some of these solutions making its stakeholders and partners more competitive. Partners share with AREC their knowhow and technology, jointly making our co-produced outcome even more attractive.

AREC’s industrial partnership with world leaders such as Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Steel, Hovis, Whitbread / COSTA, Hovis, DLA Piper, IBM, Munton, Nestle, Wardell Armstrong; innovative SMEs such as Sheffield Forgemasters International, DBL Logistics, Brocklesby, Shaping Cloud, Olympia Electronics; organization bodies representing industries such as Minor Metals Trade Association (MMTA), Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), Chambers of Commerce, British Standards Institute, Manufacturing KTN; government bodies representing policies such as All Parties Parliamentary Energy Studies Group (PGES), Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Sustainability Partnership / low carbon sector group, Sheffield Green Commission, Cold Commission, European Parliament, European Energy Research Alliance (EERA), resulting in major impact to resource efficiency and supply chain sustainability. These impacts range from improvement in regulatory compliances, carbon tax savings, cost savings, won procurement contract and green award, reduced negative environmental impact, increased supply chain competitiveness, improved productivity, enhanced energy efficiency, and others.


How to get involved

AREC and DRTT partners with individuals and organisations globally from industry, education, government and third sector. If you are interested in becoming involved, please email: ( and ). To learn more about our research, please visit us at;



AREC Product

Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool –Suites

Customers can now choose among three different Cloud based SCEnAT software products and five service packages to fit their needs. The products are designed with Microsoft technology.

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Current AREC Project Portfolio


COSTA commissioned AREC £100,000 to investigate recyclability and disposal route of paper cups. COSTA decided to launch a pioneering recycling scheme after environmental campaigner and prominent chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall raised awareness about the non-recyclability of paper cups used by coffee chains in his show, Hugh’s War on Waste (broadcasted by BBC1). AREC used SCEnAT to map the paper cup recycling chain, undertook a large scale national survey to investigate consumers’ attitudes towards recycling; and conducted laboratory testing to conduct fibre breakdown analysis of paper cups. Working with key stakeholders, AREC (Prof Koh and Prof Styring) said: “The findings will be announced in public in due course and will contribute towards reducing the waste generated by the 8 million takeaway coffees Britons drink every day.”



The University of Sheffield received a prestigious £10 million grant from the Leverhulme Trust to create the Leverhulme Climate Change Mitigation Centre. AREC’s Director Prof Koh is a Co-Investigator and uses her internationally recognised expertise in supply chain management to contribute to the centre’s research theme “Sustainability & Society” (Theme 4) which investigates the sustainability and potential impacts of enhanced rock weathering. Prof Koh and her team use hybrid life cycle assessment which analyses issues related to mining, grinding, transporting and spreading of crushed rocks needed to support enhanced weathering strategies at meaningful scales for carbon capture to enable integrated environmental assessment of the enhanced rock weathering supply chain and uncertainty-perturbation scenario analyses. This helps assess the potential to build a global, sustainable, integrated enhanced rock weathering supply chain framework for analysing and understanding the long-term environmental, social and economic impacts.



Through a £1.1 million EPSRC grant as part of the PSi programme, AREC works together with Jaguar Land Rover to investigate the impacts of ageing of materials on performance in the automotive industry. From the Cradle-to-Grave life cycle assessment using SCEnAT, results obtained through each of these steps facilitate understanding of the ageing process and help improve Jaguar Land Rover’s performance which contributes to increasing customer satisfaction. This research involves University of Manchester and The University of Sheffield (Prof Soutis, Dr Pinna, Prof Koh, Prof Wagg, Prof Hopkinson, Prof Hodzic, Prof Withers).



Funded by EPSRC (Prof Reaney, Prof Koh, Prof Sinclair, Prof Rainforth, Prof Matthews, Dr Morley, Dr Tennant, Dr Freeman, Dr Dean), this £2.5 million ‘Substitution and Sustainability in Functional Materials and Devices’ (SubST) grant runs over a five-year period. The research consists of six parallel projects, with more being developed in collaboration with industry partners throughout the course of the funding period. The objective is to identify alternatives to existing Functional Materials and Devices (FMD) which are less harmful to the environment. All projects use multiscale modelling in device design, materials development and understanding physical properties. Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) is utilized on all projects. SCEnAT is coded based on the state-of-the-art Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology and has been used by leading industry such as TATA, Rolls-Royce and Sheffield Forgemasters International. This research has generated major impact on materials sustainability across Japan, China, Europe and USA.

A prestigious example worth highlighting: as a result of the LCA research between KNN and PZT (comparing lead-based vs. lead free materials), Georgia Tech collaborated with us on LCA and techno-economic analysis on triboelectric Nano generator. Both of these studies have yielded two high impact outputs published in Energy and Environmental Science (Impact factor 29.518).



With the aim of fostering greater exchange between academia and industry, TrainERGY aims to develop an innovative, evidence-based transnational framework that will markedly improve the knowledge and skills of academic institutions to produce more marked oriented energy efficient operations (EEO) curricula, reducing the barriers in this field. In order to achieve this objective, the team, which is comprised of key academics, small-medium enterprises (SMEs), and industrial association partners from different sectors, work together to identify existing training needs, create a framework for the development of EEO curricular, and produce learning materials for Masters level courses. In addition, led by the University of Sheffield, the team develops an evidence-based Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) based on the SCEnATi where feedback from multiple stakeholders (academics, students, industry) will be evaluated and incorporated into the EEO curriculum in an open innovation and co-creation manner. TrainERGY, which involves Poland, UK, Greece and Italy, is funded by the European Commission ERASMUS+ programme. This team includes Dr Kalinowski, Prof Ketikidis, Dr Solomon, Prof Koh, Dr Genovese, Prof Bruno, Dr Piccolo, and several key representatives from industry and business associations.



Funded by EPSRC, the £1.5 million research project TransEnergy – Road to Rail Energy Exchange (R2REE) focuses on new technology, infrastructure and system to sustainably deliver electrically powered rail transport systems and electric road vehicles (EVs), and extend to the power supply network which supports them. The convergence over coming years of both road and rail transport on electric power with reduced dependence on fossil fuels offers great potential benefits, but also has risks from dependence on a single fuel type and peak demand stress on its underlying supply network. Although fossil fuels have environmental drawbacks they have the advantage of offering inherent energy storage, thereby desynchronising time of energy use from its supply, and smoothing demands on the supply network. This is not the case for electricity use in which there are currently only limited means to smooth and reduce demand.

The proposed research addresses both the technology to store electric energy in a form suited to transport use, and the modelling to understand how to use the technology to reduce overall energy demand. This project focuses on new battery technology for energy exchange between road and rail transport systems, and examines issues surrounding Electric Vehicles (EVs)’ composition of the power supply network used to support these systems and the connection to rail and grid, and the associated techno-economic and environment impacts of the technology. Prof Koh leads WP1 in this research to investigate the techno-economic and environmental impact of various battery technology using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing methodologies, where SCEnAT+ and SCEnATi are deployed. This project is led by The University of Sheffield in collaboration with Leeds University and Southampton University. The team includes Prof Stone, Prof Foster, Prof Koh, Prof Smith, Prof Harrison, Dr Fletcher, Prof Cruden, Dr Gladwin and Dr Goodwin.



The N8 AgriFood £16 million research programme funded by HEFCE brings together farmers, the government and leading academics together to tackle the biggest global challenges to provide a sustainable, resilient and healthy food supply for society as a whole. The programme is led by the N8 Research Partnership, which is a collaboration of the eight most research-intensive universities in the north of England: Sheffield, Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and York. The partnership brings together the greatest concentration of academics engaged in agri-food research in the UK with 370 researchers and £269 million of research funding. AREC is a major contributor in this partnership because of its expertise in agri-tech and supply chain analysis. By integrating understandings of food supply networks from food production and supply through to consumption and nutrition, it is possible to develop practices for the UK’s food supply networks that can help address global food security issues. Prof Smith leads this, with a leadership and academic team including Prof Denby, Prof Hartley, Prof Banwart, Prof Firbank, Prof Halford, Prof Reed, Prof Cameron, Prof Jackson, Prof Koh, Prof Oglethorpe and a team of research and knowledge exchange fellows.



Funded by the Science and Technology Funding Council (STFC) with £363,967, the goal of the STFC Food Network+ (SFN) is to connect various sectors within the area of agri-food to stimulate interdisciplinary research which is needed in order to develop sustainable, secure supply of safe, nutritious, and affordable high-quality food using less land, with reduced inputs, and in the context of global climate change and declining natural resources. It connects all the leading researchers across disciplines including physics and astronomy, social sciences, plant sciences, data and computer sciences and others to raise awareness about existing challenges and opportunities in agriculture. This STFC funding is led by The University of Manchester, The University of Sheffield, York University, Newcastle University and Liverpool University and led by Prof Bridle, Prof Koh, Prof Flanagan, Prof Reed, Prof Halford, Prof Denby and Prof Grieve. Three champions have recently been appointed by the investigators to coordinate each of the themes: Dr Choudhary (Supply chain), Prof Oliver (Data science) and Dr Reynolds (Consumption).



Identification and analysis of risks across the value chain is a pre-requisite for developing a resilient and sustainable supply chain of the future. The AVCRA pilot project funded by N8 Agrifood aims to investigate the socio-environmental and geopolitical risk profile of UK agri-food value chains by employing a systems approach. This project is led by Dr Choudhary from Sheffield in partnership with Durham, Newcastle and Leeds, and 6 industrial partners including Co-op Food, Quorn Foods, William Jackson Food Group, WRAP, Anthesis and Barefoot Lighting.



Funded by European Commission H2020 RISE with 283,500 euro, The University of Sheffield coordinates the EU-funded PROsFET which aims to deliver decision support tools to help negotiate conflicting interests that arise in urban logistics management, which includes a large variety of stakeholders. Especially in the area of urban freight transport, it can be difficult to devise strategies that effectively address environmental concerns while reducing freight logistics costs at the same time. In order to better facilitate decisions that address concerns of multiple stakeholders, the project will undertake the following three steps. First, it will conduct a comprehensive review of urban freight transport in Europe, by highlighting best-practices and sharing them across a network of public bodies. Second, it will promote the utilisation of stakeholders’ engagement methods in urban freight transport policy formulation and strategic decision making in Europe. Finally, it aims to encourage the use of decision support tools for urban freight transport by public authorities in Europe. It is led by Dr Genovese from the Sheffield based AREC team involving Dr Ballantyne and Dr Sgalambro.



Funded by Innovate UK Transport Systems Catapult (TSC), AREC is working in partnership with TSC, Computer Science and Transport Innovation Systems Sheffield on Blockchain in Intelligent Mobility. This project explores the transformational potential of such distributed ledger system (Blockchain) for future enterprises, logistics and supply chains – around the spheres of mobility-as-a-service, autonomous systems, Logistics 4.0 and Industry 4.0. This project builds on the Intelligent Mobility Skills Strategy by TSC, where the highlights are summarised below.
Key findings in the Intelligent Mobility Skills Strategy:
• The UK faces a potential skills gap of 742,000 people by 2025.
• ‘Disruptive’ high value digital skills are in short supply.
• Transport industry experts strongly prefer higher degree apprenticeships.
• The potential lost opportunity cost to UK GDP is £50 billion per annum.
• An integrated range of interventions is needed to address the skills shortfall. The industry and research participants agreed that no single intervention will address the shortfall in IM skills.
• Proactive efforts need to be made to attract women to the industry.
• The UK can adopt rapid, novel, low cost international interventions.



Funded by European Commission EuropeAid programme, the REINVEST project aims to foster collaboration between EU and India in the field of freight transportation, working together to make it more efficient, more environmental friendly and financially and socially sustainable. Together with five partners, the University of Sheffield is tasked with the project’s implementation. Objectives include but are not limited to analysing existing freight transport systems in both countries to identify best practices, develop a knowledge framework and a sustainable freight transportation toolkit to assist decision-makers; and increase knowledge sharing through the organisations of seminars and workshops. The Sheffield team includes Dr Ballantyne and Dr Simpson. It involves partners from Loughborough University, IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Karagpur, University of Padua and SEERC.



The University of Sheffield received a £37.1 million grant from the Regional Growth Fund to support the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s large-scale programme of supplier development and manufacturing research in partnership with key industrial members. In this case, the partnership is with Rolls-Royce, which is the lead company for the UK Nuclear Supply Chain. Whilst this programme focuses on the Civil Nuclear new-build industry, but has broad applicability across the nuclear value chain and other industries in the energy sector. In addition, AREC working with Nuclear AMRC analysed the UK civil nuclear supply chain competiveness and requirement for new nuclear power stations by 2035, and the report has been completed.

Recent AREC Publication

• Structure-integration relationships in Oil and Gas Supply Chains.Ebrahimi, S. et al. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 2018.

• The environmental impact of fertilizer embodied in a wheat-to-bread supply chain Goucher, L. et al. Nature Plants, 3 (2017).

• Conceptualising A Circular Framework of Supply Chain Resource Sustainability; Koh, al., International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37, 10, 1520-1540(2017).

• Environmental life cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis of triboelectric Nano generators, Ahmed, A.; et al.; Energy & Environmental Science 10, 3, 653-671 (2017).

• The contemporary landscape of fuel poverty research; Ambrose, A and Marchand, R, Indoor and Built Environment (Special Issue), Aug. (2017).

• Perovskite solar cells: An integrated hybrid lifecycle assessment and review in comparison with other photovoltaic technologies; Ibn-Mohammed, T. et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 80, 1321-1344 (2017).

• Improving retail supply flexibility using buyer-supplier relational capabilities; Obayi, R., et al, International Journal of Operations & Production Management; 37, 3, 343-362(2017).

• Sustainable Supply Chain Management and the transition towards a Circular Economy: Evidence and some Applications; Genovese, A.; et al. Omega, 66, B, 344-357 (2017).

• A hybridised framework combining integrated methods for environmental Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing, Miah, al., Journal of Cleaner Production, 168,1,846-866(2017).

• Integrated hybrid life cycle assessment and supply chain environmental profile evaluations of lead-based (lead zirconate titanate) versus lead-free (potassium sodium niobate) piezoelectric ceramics; Mohammed-Ibn, al. Energy & Environmental Science, 9, 11, 3495-3520(2016).

• Integrated resource efficiency: measurement and management, Koh, S.C.L et al. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 36, 11, 1576-160 (2016).

• Drivers of U.S. toxicological footprints trajectory 1998–2013; Koh, S.C.L. et al. Nature Scientific Reports6(2016).

• Retrofitting the Built Environment: An Economic and Environmental Analysis of Energy Systems; Ibn-Mohammed, T. Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2016).

• Intelligent Mobility Skills Strategy, Transport Systems Catapult (2016).

Exciting Updates!

AREC is experiencing some exciting developments! We want to share them with our stakeholders and our community:

Click here to learn about AREC's outstanding innovation: the Supply Chain Enviornmental Analysis Tool!

Read about AREC's vision, mission, approach and the impact of its work.

AREC is going global - and why you should be a part of it.

Blockchain disruption in transport

Blockchain disruption in transport event – organised by the Transport Systems Catapult in partnership with The University of Sheffield.

Register via this link:

BBC Breakfast invites AREC Director Lenny Koh to talk about UK’s ‘greenest’ summer

Picture of BBC Breakfast Appearance

AREC Director Lenny Koh made another appearance on BBC Breakfast. Prof. Koh was invited to discuss the National Grid’s announcement that in 2017, the UK experienced its ‘greenest’ summer to date. Prof. Koh expressed that the National Grid trajectory of low carbon energy supply is a welcomed development and explained that it aligns with AREC’s mission of championing renewable energy (especially offshore wind and PV + civil nuclear) and supporting supply chains in the UK. She further pointed out that recent improvements in technology and efficiency help reduce costs which eventually helps consumers save money. An example of this includes regionalising and localising energy supply through smart grid/small scale supply such as Small Modular Reactor (SMR). Since AREC’s work contributes to such developments, its research fosters policy goals such as reductions in carbon emissions, which encourages sustainable energy solutions while reducing negative impacts on people’s health. For more information on AREC’s work, please see

Science & Technology. Today interviews AREC Director Lenny Koh about Perovskite solar cells

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, was interviewed by Science & Technology. Today about Perovskite solar cells’ potential to greatly reduce energy payback periods. The interview related to a recent study published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, which was authored by Prof. Koh in collaboration with Dr. Ibn-Mohammed; Prof. Reaney, Dr. Acquaye, Dr. Schileo, Dr. Mustapha and Dr. Greenough. For more information about the study’s results and impacts, please click here:

To read the full interview with Prof. Lenny Koh please click here:

To access the full publication, please click here:

Prof Lenny Koh welcomes local MEP to the University

Prof Lenny Koh, director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) welcomed John Procter, MEP for Yorkshire & the Humber, to the University of Sheffield. Mr Procter and his adviser to the Yorkshire & the Humber region, Martin Dales, met with different departments at the University including the Management School, the Department of Materials Science and the Faculty of Social Sciences’ Impact and Knowledge Exchange (SSPIKE) team.

First Picture of MEP VisitAs the spokesman for Education and Culture, Mr. Procter has a keen interest in research at the University and was keen to see its facilities and learn more about ongoing projects. Prof Koh showed the visitors the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and cutting-edge laboratory facilities in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, which form part of the Sir Henry Royce Institute.

This visit follows AREC’s impact presentation at the European Parliament in Brussels. Mr Procter hosted the event, ‘Pathway to Global Policy, Industry and Societal Impact’, which showcased Prof Koh’s role in working towards environmental sustainability. At the event, she presented the Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool – Intelligence (SCEnATi),

MEP Visit Impage 3a cloud-based software in partnership with Microsoft, which helps businesses become more competitive and resource efficient, whilst reducing negative impacts on the environment.

On his visit, Mr Procter said: “I was impressed by the University of Sheffield. It was great to see first-hand the world-leading work produced right here in Yorkshire. The research has great implications for the region, as well as globally. In a world where the global supply chain relies on resources interconnection, it’s inspiring to see research which champions an inclusive, integrated approach to resource sustainability and efficiency.”

 Prof Koh continued: “It was my privilege to show Mr Procter leading examples of Sheffield’s research. Our cross disciplinary environment, combined with a global outlook, shape our contribution to the region and beyond.”

AREC and AMRC meet with UNIPART


Unipart visited the University of Sheffield in order to explore opportunities for future collaboration. Unipart is interested in developing its logistics program, with a focus around connected supply chains, and was therefore eager to hear AREC’s perspective. Unipart representatives were also keen to learn about the School of Management educational programmes, such as the MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, where students benefit from active partnerships with important industry leaders. Unipart and AREC then visited the Factory 2050 to observe the cutting edge manufacturing innovation at the AMRC.

AREC Director Prof Lenny Koh appears live on BBC Breakfast


Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, School of Management, at the University of Sheffield, appeared live on the popular BBC Breakfast show to share her expertise on the reduction of negative environmental impacts. In the previous months, the UK government announced that it intends to require local councils to reduce the number of speed bumps used in streets within their regions in an effort to reduce harmful carbon emissions. Speed bumps require cars to slow down and speed up quickly which results in very high levels of nitrogen dioxide that are detrimental to the environment. The BBC invited Professor Koh as a recognised expert on environmental sustainability to share her knowledge of the impacts on live television.

AREC Team Members Travel to USA to Foster Collaboration

brown_uni_logo_arec_activitiespenn_state_logo_arec_activitiesProfessor Lenny Koh, Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, School of Management, University of Sheffield, travelled to the United States in order to showcase her research and foster international and interdisciplinary collaboration. Together with Prof. Ian Reany, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield, Prof Koh first visited Brown University, an Ivy League institution recognised world-wide for its research excellence. After receiving a very warm welcome, she met with key leaders and heads of various research institutes who have set benchmarks in research on sustainability and model of positioning. Prof. Koh and Prof. Reaney then continued their trip to Pennsylvania State University. Again a very warm welcome. Prof. Koh and Reaney presented their work to directors and members of the university’s esteemed research institutes related to sustainability research. This was followed by a tour of their Materials Research Institute, which encompasses the national institute that does world class materials research in the States. The meetings presented an excellent opportunity to discuss future possibilities for collaboration between the institutions and contributes to raising awareness about excellent work conducted at the University of Sheffield internationally. 

Establishing pathways to resource efficiency and sustainability: Joining academia and industry

Prof Lenny Koh, chair in operations management, recently co-hosted an event at the European Parliament, Brussels. Alongside John Procter, MEP for Yorkshire and Humber (European Conservatives and Reformists Group),bringing together AREC_at_EU_parliament_eventindustry and academia to showcase the research excellence and impact of the Sheffield-based Advanced Research Efficiency Centre (AREC).

Focusing on environmental sustainability, resource production and consumption efficiency, Lenny aimed to maximise the centre’s global outreach and gave an informative introduction to the Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool - Intelligence (SCEnATi), part of AREC's research output.

SCEnATi is a tool used by leading organisations to map their supply chain and identify improvement opportunities in terms of economic, environmental and social factors by relying on the tool's businesses intelligence capability integrated within the hybrid lifecycle analysis methodology. Lenny emphasized the importance of global stakeholder collaboration using the examples of mobile phone manufacturing, use and after-life disposal, and changes to the motor industry.

Other panel members also presented their vision for greener supply chains and how researchers and industry can work closer together. They included Prof Panos Ketikidis (International Faculty of the University of Sheffield in Thessaloniki, Greece), Jay Sterling Gregg (European Energy Research Alliance), Philippe Micheaux Naudet (Association of Cities and Regions for Sustainable Resource Management) and Maria Rincon-Lievana (Circular Economy Action Plan).

A number of key points emerged from the following discussion, including the importance of interdisciplinary innovation to a greener economy, greening public procurement, investors and innovators collaborating on advancing science, energy storage and security, and the importance of the circular economy.

Providing the Tools and Technology to Move the Economy Towards A Sustainable, Low-Carbon Future 


SCEnATi, the improved version of the SCEnAT supply chain environmental analysis tool, now integrates with the Microsoft cloud technology platform, Azure. It outputs on a world map geographic carbon dioxide emissions and environmental impact across global supply chains.

This powerful data visualisation - along with country profiles and sustainability contribution information - helps policy makers, planners, investors and industrialists understand the impact of their supply chains by calculating carbon dioxide emission intensity and environmental impact using life-cycle analysis.

As part of the improvements, SCEnATi has also been enhanced with advanced business intelligence analytics capability from the Microsoft Power BI platform, which works with Shaping Cloud on an Office 365 platform.

Teresa Hitchcock, Partner at global law firm DLA Piper where SCEnATi was launched, said: "I am delighted to see the evolution of this research capability led by the University of Sheffield, especially the work from Professor Koh and her team. Being an industry member of the AREC committee, we have been involved in the work as part of a co-production process. I believe this tool will assist key stakeholders in their transition to a low carbon and sustainable future globally and to support their compliance to environmental regulation and policy."

Professor Lenny Koh, Chair in Operations Management at Sheffield University Management School and Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), said: "The supply chain resource sustainability model demonstrated in SCEnATi is scenat_i_factory_imagepowered by advanced technology and will grow our understanding of global challenges on resources critical in supply chains. The science which underpins SCEnATi has been published in top journals whilst the technology, provided by our strategic partner Microsoft, provides a flexible, secure environment for our users."

Mike Davies, Higher Education Manager from Microsoft, continued: "SCEnATi automates data capture using Microsoft Excel where Office 365 supports complete mobility to enable users to use the tool as part of their routine package."

Steve Beswick, Education Business Development Director from Microsoft, said: "It is compatible with a range of our devices including Surface and Hubs. The built-in touch capability in this tool gives complete flexibility to users to access the tool anytime and anywhere."

Carlos Oliveira, CEO of Shaping Cloud concluded: "The science and technology supporting SCEnATi is world leading. It is a great example of how academic research can be translated into a tangible piece of IP, which we believe can deliver real change and impact worldwide."

china_trip_arec_activitiesAREC Forms Partnerships in China

AREC is establishing an active partnership with leading Chinese research institutions. Team members (Lucy Smith and Mengfeng Gong) presented their research at a conference at Beihang University, one of the top universities in China specialising in aeronautics and astronautics. Lucy won Best paper award from the conference. SCEnAT has been promoted at the conference, and several meetings between Prof Koh and key players in China took place, discussing collaboration and policy & industry impact on resource efficiency and sustainability & life cycle thinking across the supply chain (‘Creating the Supply Chain of the Future’).

Reducing the environmental impact of a loaf of bread: SUMS leads interdisciplinary projectbread_arec_study

With an estimated 12 million loaves sold in the UK every day, bread remains a staple of the British diet. In a groundbreaking study researchers from the University of Sheffield have now calculated the environmental impact of a loaf of bread and which part of its production contributes the most greenhouse gas.

The group of interdisciplinary researchers from the University’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, including three experts from Sheffield University Management School (SUMS), analysed the complete process from growing and harvesting the wheat; milling the grain; producing the flour; baking the bread and the production of the final product, ready to be sold by retailers.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Plants, show ammonium nitrate fertiliser used in wheat cultivation contributes almost half (43 per cent) of the greenhouse gas emissions – dwarfing all other processes in the supply chain.

Dr Liam Goucher, N8 Agrifood Research Fellow from the University of Sheffield who carried out the study and is based at SUMS, said: “Consumers are usually unaware of the environmental impacts embodied in the products they purchase – particularly in the case of food, where the main concerns are usually over health or animal welfare. There is perhaps awareness of pollution caused by plastic packaging, but many people will be surprised at the wider environmental impacts revealed in this study.

“We found in every loaf there is embodied global warming resulting from the fertiliser applied to farmers’ fields to increase their wheat harvest. This arises from the large amount of energy needed to make the fertilizer and from nitrous oxide gas released when it is degraded in the soil.”

How to produce sufficient healthy and affordable food for the world’s growing and more demanding population, whilst protecting the environment is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. It is estimated that up to 60 per cent of agricultural crops are now grown with the use of fertilisers. Although they can dramatically boast the growth of plants and vegetables – assisting the growing demand of food yields – fertilisers consist of substances and chemicals such as methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and nitrogen. The emissions from these substances in synthetic fertilisers contribute to greenhouse gases.

Professor Peter Horton FRS, Chief Research Advisor to the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield and corresponding author of the paper, said: “Our findings bring into focus a key part of the food security challenge – resolving the major conflicts embedded in the agri-food system, whose primary purpose is to make money not to provide sustainable global food security.

“High agricultural productivity – necessary for profit for farmers, agri-businesses and food retailers, whilst also keeping prices low for consumers – currently requires high levels of application of relatively cheap fertilisers.”

He added: “With over 100 million tonnes of fertiliser used globally each year to support agricultural production this is a massive problem, but environmental impact is not costed within the system and so there are currently no real incentives to reduce our reliance on fertiliser.

“How to achieve sustainable global food security is not only a technical question but a political economic one, and requires interdisciplinary research of the kind we do here at Sheffield.”

The study was made possible by a pioneering collaboration with the agricultural and food manufacturing sector developed by Richard Bruce, a co-author of the paper and Business Engagement Lead for the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield.

The data analysed in the study was processed using an advanced life-cycle assessment tool – SCEnAT – developed by Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre at the University’s Management School and co-author of the paper.

“This tool handles large and complex data sets and yielding data on the environmental impact, including greenhouse gas emissions of all the stages in the supply chain,” said Professor Koh. “The tool identifies the processes that yield the most impact – the hotspots. The findings raise a very important issue – whose responsibility is it to bring about the implementation of these interventions: the fertiliser manufacturer, the farmer, the retailer or the consumer?

“There is a growing recognition for a range of industrial processes of the notion of extended producer responsibility – the producer being responsible for downstream impact, expanded to the idea of shared producer and consumer responsibility. The consumer is key, whether being persuaded to pay more for a greener product or by applying pressure for a change in practice.”

The paper also highlights the solutions available which could potentially reduce these impacts in the future.

Co-author Professor Duncan Cameron, Co-director of the P3 Centre for Translational Plant and Soil Science explains: “The fertiliser problem is solvable – through improved agronomic practices”.

“These harness the best of organic farming combined with new technologies to better monitor the nutritional status of soils and plants and to recycle waste and with the promise of new wheat varieties able to utilise soil nitrogen more efficiently”.

 AREC wins Award For E-Waste Research

e_waste_award_arec_activityProf Koh and colleagues have received the prestigious Elsevier Atlas Award for their work on e-waste. The Award recognises scientific research that has an impact on people around the World.

Recycling waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) more effectively could be worth up to 3.7 billion euros to the European market as well as reducing environmental pollution, an award winning research paper has found. Waste electrical and electronic equipment is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, with an estimated growth rate between three and five per cent each year. The project presents a comprehensive framework supporting the decision-making process of multiple electronic recycling centres. The assessment defined the potential revenues coming from the recovery of valuable materials, such as gold and platinum, in 14 electronic waste streams in Europe. It found that recycling electronic waste was equal to 2.15 billion euros in overall potential revenue to the European market in 2014 and could rise to 3.67 billion euros by 2020. As well as providing a significant source of revenue, more effective development of new electronic items and waste set to increase, the research highlights the need for manufacturers and recycling centres to work more closely together in order to recover more material from disposed equipment. It also recommends the development of more flexible recycling plants able to intercept different types of end of life products.

mclaren_logoMcLaren Automotive to build new Manufacturing Facility in Sheffield thanks to Partnership with University of Sheffield

A pioneering partnership between the luxury sports car producer McLaren Automotive and the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has led to the development of a significant new manufacturing facility – bringing a £100 million boost to the economy. The creation of the Composites Technology Centre is a result of the pioneering partnership between McLaren and the University of Sheffield’s AMRC. The new facility is projected to create 200 new jobs and will be based in the UK’s first Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District. Its purpose is to develop and manufacture advanced carbon fibre chassis for McLaren Automotive’s supercars. As part of the partnership, the University of Sheffield’s AMRC Training Centre will also immediately start training McLaren apprentices who will work in the new facility.

Partnership to work on humanitarian logistics using Unmanned Airborne Vehicle (UAV): How can we revolutionalise the healthcare and medicines cold chains?

UAV drone meetingWith over 1billion people living in communities without regular access to essential medicines, the human cost of poor infrastructure and inadequate delivery logistics is felt throughout the underdeveloped world. The lack of a reliable delivery mechanism results in limited access to emergency medicines, such as anti-venom, and routine pharmaceuticals such as vaccines.

The University of Sheffield and UAVAid Ltd have agreed a research collaboration to explore the use of Unmanned Airborne Vehicle (UAV) drone technology to improve humanitarian logistics. Together, they aim to utilise the latest advances in UK this technology to solve the supply chain problems caused by poor ‘last mile’ medical deliveries to remote and difficult to reach areas. In doing so, they hope to improve the health of millions of people and create efficiency savings for governments and aid organisations.

The University of Sheffield, through the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), will assume the lead academic role in the ‘Last 100mile Research Group’ (LCmRG), which was founded by UAVAid co-founder, Daniel Ronen, to drive research in the area of humanitarian logistics. The membership of the group already includes leading academics and experts from across the world in disciplines including logistics, supply chain management, UAV robotics, healthcare and humanitarian action.

Daniel said: “This partnership marks a very important milestone in this area. We have specifically chosen to work with the University of Sheffield because of its excellent research capabilities, and strong record of partnership with industry on real world applications. By working with world class researchers, we hope to develop and trial new operating models and systems, which will ultimately improve the quality of life of those living in impoverished communities.”

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of AREC, said: “Our first project in this programme will focus on the delivery of vaccines to hard to reach areas of the developing World. UAVs are a very exciting technology, enabling the optimisation of supply chains in new and innovative ways. Combining advanced robotics and data analytics will help to advance the field of humanitarian logistics, and generate practical innovations for improving healthcare and medicine supply chains.”

A meeting, focusing on the use of UAVs for humanitarian deliveries, was hosted by the university in June 2016. It was attended by leading experts, technologists, universities, NGOs and funding agencies from around the world.

Research Away Day

Together with the Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) Research Centre and the Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES), AREC organised a Research Away Day in March 2017. The day featured an exploration of themes, sectors, technologies/tools and methodologies in the areas of agrifood, advanced materials and manufacturing, energy and nuclear, water, transport and logistics, climate change, information science, sustainability science and decision science. The day also included informative presentations by The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Prof Dawson and Research & Innovation (R&IS)’s cross-disciplinary research manager Dr Knight. The discussions yielded a set of key actions including: 1) the formation of a Task and & Finish Group (TFG) to help explore and develop the hub of excellence idea with a focus on Life-Cycle-Analysis (LCA) modelling, infrastructure technology and manufacturing supply chain; 2) cross-disciplinary funding applications to involve members of all centres; 3) advancing strategic partnerships and collaboration with key stakeholders; and 4) prioritizing greater connectivity between low and high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) research.

scenat_plus_logo_arec_softwareAREC in Partnership with Microsoft Launches SCEnAT+ in London

 An innovative tool launched by the University of Sheffield in partnership with Microsoft is helping organisations to reduce the environmental impact of their supply chains. In alignment with the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, the urgent need to reach an international agreement to battle CO2 emissions is unequivocal. Now, public and private sector organisations have the ability to better understand the environmental impact of their supply chain thanks to a new Cloud based tool SCEnAT+ (Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool). SCEnAT+ has been implemented in various organisations to help reduce their carbon emissions and pinpoint efficiency improvement opportunities within their supply chains. By running an analysis of a supply chain and presenting a carbon "heat-map", SCEnAT+ provides recommendations for reducing the carbon footprint of the supply chain. The pioneering tool enables companies to perform improved life cycle analysis, better life cycle costing, supply chain benchmarking and evaluation of a plethora of supply chain environmental impact on the ecosystem and wider economy, leading to increased revenues and decreased CO2 emission.

SCENAT_plus_AREC_eventProfessor Lenny Koh, Director of the University of Sheffield's Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, said: "Microsoft's Futures programme is the ideal platform for us to base the SCEnAT+ on as it will enable its scalability, interoperability and reconfigurability. We look forward to working with Microsoft on further new developments in the future. Our goal is embedding sustainability conditions in all decision making across supply chains around the world."

Mike Davies, Head of Higher Education Business from Microsoft UK, said: "We are pleased to announce this new partnership with the University of Sheffield and its Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre.

"The SCEnAT+ has the ability to provide great benefits to organisations in reducing the cost and environmental impact of their supply chains, and it also showcases the abilities of our Cloud services."

Dr Kenji Takeda, Solutions Architect and Technical Manager from Microsoft Research, added: "The future of research collaboration will be accelerated via Azure Research and Azure Marketplace which provide a rapid innovation environment supported by Cloud technology. SCEnAT+ technology is based on Azure infrastructure. We are looking forward to our next phase of collaboration with the University of Sheffield."

DBL_logisitics_logo_arec_activityDriving Forward with DBL Logistics, City Region and Public-Private Organisations

 Some of the world’s most well-known companies visited Sheffield to discuss the future of logistics research thanks our partnership with the University of Sheffield.

DBL Logistics have been working closely with the University’s Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) on the development of an innovative Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT+). The online tool enables companies to map their supply chains and identify CO2 emission reduction opportunities. Following the launch of the tool, DBL Logistics Managing Director David Clarkson, and Professor Lenny Koh of the University of Sheffield’s Management School organised an event to discuss the vision of shaping the Sheffield City Region into a world centre for sustainable supply chain logistics research. The event was attended by worldwide organisations such as Microsoft - a strategic partner of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre - as well as Sheffield City Council, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Scarborough Group, Sheffield United, Wurth Research and Shaping Cloud.

David Clarkson, who is also Sheffield Chamber’s Transport Forum representative in the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Logistics Group, said: “The event really highlighted the amazing work that is currently being done by the University regarding research and development in the Sheffield City Region. We’re very proud to be a part of this project as we work towards our ambition of becoming a carbon neutral company, which is unheard of in a logistics company. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but that’s our goal and why we are working with the university. It would be fantastic if our city could lead the way in reducing the supply chain’s carbon footprint.”

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of The University of Sheffield’s AREC and also a Co-Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Sustainability Partnership for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “Our aim is to play a lead role dbl_truck_arec_activitiesin creating the sustainable supply chain of the future using the world leading research capability here in both universities in Sheffield in this field. This is very timely given the recent launch of the Sheffield Green Commitment Report which aims to build a sustainable, smart and competitive future city. I believe productivity and efficiency can be accelerated by exploiting the research and innovation at the universities, working in partnership with industry and government bodies.”

Martin McKervey, Partner at Nabarro LLP and Private Sector Lead of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s infrastructure group and the Transport for the North, said: “This ambition is very much aligned with the visions of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s infrastructure group and the Transport for the North. Integrating sustainability and its related research and innovation capabilities into our visions will help ascertain that our infrastructure and transport master plan for the UK, in particular the North as part of the Northern Powerhouse project be so much more compelling, especially under the climate from pressure of protecting the natural capital and environment, and of balancing the need to connect and compete in a global stage.”

AREC and partners announce Manifesto to increase the recovery and recycling of paper cups

In response to media attention and consumer concern over the recycling of paper cups, the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) and Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG) have launched an industry-wide Manifesto with the objective of significantly increasing paper cup recovery and recycling rates by 2020. The Manifesto has more than 30 signatories, including AREC.

Defra has recognised the Manifesto and views it as a welcome example of industry working together. Mark Pawsey MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Packaging, said: “I’m encouraged to see industry working so closely together to find and implement solutions for recovering and recycling paper cups.”

The Manifesto is a voluntary commitment, funded by its members, to deliver systemic change that will increase the sustainable recovery and recycling rates of used paper cups. The Manifesto work programme will be run by an industry-wide executive board made up of elected members, with delegated reporting working groups. Supporter and signatory organisations are publicly recognising that working together is essential if long-lasting change is to be achieved.

We are hiring: Research Associate in sustainable supply chains

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, we are looking to appoint a research associate in sustainable supply chains to investigate enhanced rock weathering.

The contract is for five years and will be based at the Management School. The candidate will hold a good first degree and a PhD in environmental science, sustainable supply chain, Life Cycle Assessment, management science, environmental economics or a relevant area (or have equivalent experience).

Deadline: 31 May 2016. Click here to find out more and to apply.

Tata BrinscombeMaking the sustainable choice – embedding Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) in the materials and manufacturing supply chain

A fascinating partnership between researchers at the Management School and the Faculty of Engineering led to a recent sell-out event, with industry leaders at the heart of it.

A number of industry delegates from throughout Europe joined academics at the University of Sheffield for the Materials Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Workshop, a one-day event organised jointly between the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) and EPSRC funded projects ‘Designing Alloys for Resource Efficiency’ (DARE) and ‘Substitution and Sustainability in Functional Materials and Devices’ (SUbST).

The morning consisted of presentations on major materials innovation projects and real industry cases, given by leading academics and representatives from industry, focusing on the current and future trends of LCA and how this can aid decision-making to achieve resource efficiency and sustainability in an organisation.

The keynote presentation was given by Louis Brimacombe, head of environmental technology at Tata Steel (pictured above left), who explained how LCA has a role in understanding the benefits of a circular economy, where not only environmental considerations but also the social and economic performances of a material are crucial for making sustainable decisions.

Following his presentation, Louis Brimacombe (pictured above) said: “LCA is core in achieving sustainability across supply chains. It not only helps industry makes informed decisions, but identifies where we can improve resource efficiency, sustainability and circular economy.”

During the afternoon, delegates split into working groups to discuss current issues including: why current materials life cycle is not sustainable; how science and research can help to make it more sustainable in the future; the stakeholders who should be involved, and the support and resources required to achieve this. Feedback from this session introduced some exciting new ideas and concepts.

At the end of the workshop one of the main organisers of the event, Professor Lenny Koh from Sheffield University Management School, who is also the director of AREC, said: “This event, which delegates agree should become annual, has evidenced the important role and influence of supply chain LCA in resource efficiency and the sustainability of materials supply chains in flagship projects at the University of Sheffield, including DARE, SUbST and SIMULIFE. LCA must be designed into the development stages of any new materials or products/services to search for the most sustainable option before scale-up. For existing materials, products and services, their life cycle must be continuously assessed through LCA.”

Presentations and a summary of breakout discussions will be posted at in the next few days.

For information on the following, email:
AREC and LCA: Lenny Koh (
DARE: Mark Rainforth ( or Jean Simpson (
SUbST: Ian Reaney (

Materials life cycle event - 22 April 2016

Professor Lenny Koh is hosting a Materials Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) workshop at Inox Dine on Friday 22 April 2016. Click here to sign up.

Materials LCA workshop

Supply chain carbon reduction in action

Professor Lenny Koh's SCEnAT tool is put into action at DBL Logistics, a Sheffield company, and could help reduce their fleet's carbon footprint.

David Clarkson, MD at the family firm, said: “The benchmarking is obviously of keen interest to our sales director because if you can benchmark yourself against a competitor and it shows we are far more sustainable, this puts us in a stronger position.”

They have already seen results from using the system - in fact the SCEnAT system also flagged up to DBL the inefficiencies of running older vehicles on its fleet in terms of fuel consumption, emissions and maintenance and repair costs.

Click here to read the full article online at Freight in the City.

Recycling e-waste research expands its reach into practice

Information on Professor Lenny Koh's research into e-waste has been published in a relevant trade publication, Skip Hire Magazine. Click here to read the article.

Helping global organisations reduce environmental impact of their supply chains

Professor Lenny Koh's launch of SCEnAT+ with Microsoft attracted the attention of the media.

SCEnAT+ has been implemented in various organisations to help reduce their carbon emissions and pinpoint efficiency improvement opportunities within their supply chains. By running an analysis of a supply chain and presenting a carbon "heat-map", SCEnAT+ provides recommendations for reducing the carbon footprint of the supply chain.

Read articles regarding the launch on and

£10 million Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at University of Sheffield announced

  • Centre will aim to revolutionise approaches to climate change mitigation and promote food security, whilst safeguarding natural resources
  • It will develop the science to safely remove the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cool the planet
  • Announcement coincides with Paris Climate Change Conference 2015

A new £10million Centre for Climate Change Mitigation, led by the University of Sheffield, has been announced, in a bid to address one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century.

As global leaders gather in Paris for the Climate Change Conference to reach a deal aimed at reducing global carbon emissions and limiting global warming, the Leverhulme Trust Board has today (3 December 2015) revealed plans for the new Centre, which will be funded for up to £10 million over ten years.

Led by Professor David Beerling, the Leverhulme Centre hopes to revolutionise approaches to climate change mitigation and transform the evidence base needed to alter land management options for mitigating climate change and promoting food security, whilst safeguarding natural resources. The vision is to develop and assess the role of enhanced rock weathering as a means of safely removing large amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere to cool the planet, while also mitigating ocean acidification.

The plan is to deliver these aims through Earth system modelling, lab-based controlled environment experimental investigations and large-scale field studies, embedded with social science analyses of sustainability and public engagement.

Professor Beerling FRS, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield, said: "I am delighted that the Leverhulme Trust is providing substantial long-term investment in our pioneering Leverhulme Centre at the University of Sheffield. It couldn’t be more timely and represents a huge vote of confidence for the outstanding team of scientists and social scientists involved from Sheffield and elsewhere.

"Turning the tide on climate change is a matter of inter-generational justice. Deployable strategies for removing CO2 from the atmosphere are strongly embedded in climate stabilization policies but don’t yet exist. So pinning the future fate of the Earth and 7 billion humans on meaningful emission cuts without fostering research into alternative actions to avert the threat of dangerous climate change is a risky strategy.

He added: "The ambition of our new interdisciplinary Leverhulme Centre is to deliver a step-change in the development of feasible, scalable, atmospheric CO2 removal options and avert ocean acidification. We will objectively develop the science, sustainability and ethics necessary for harnessing the photosynthate energy of plants to accelerate the breakdown of silicate rocks applied to agroecosystems and ultimately sequester carbon on the sea floor. In effect, the approach uses natural reactions that have been stabilizing climate for millions of years to safely remove the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

The University of Sheffield Leverhulme Centre is one of four winners of the new Leverhulme Research Centre awards, designed to support fundamental cross-disciplinary research across the whole range of the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

The competition was designed to encourage original research which would establish or reshape a significant field of study and transform our understanding of an important topic in contemporary societies. The Trust encourages research which is fundamental or curiosity-driven, multi-disciplinary, and often higher risk. Applicants were therefore invited to be bold in compiling their bids, with the choice of research topic left deliberately open.

Professor Gordon Marshall, Director of the Leverhulme Trust, said: "The new Leverhulme Trust Centres are a major investment in discovery-led research at a time when funding for scholarly inquiry is under great pressure. They are our vote-of-confidence in the quality of the UK’s outstanding researchers at every level. Each Centre will embrace multi-disciplinary and international collaborations designed to bring the highest calibre of expertise to bear on these exciting areas of inquiry. We look forward to working with our new award holders over the coming years as they explore these new research agendas."

From the plough to the plate: reducing environmental impact and improving efficiency

One of Britain's biggest and best-loved bread makers has joined forces with University researchers and a leading agricultural intelligence provider, to better understand the impact its activities are having on the environment – from the plough to the plate.

"It's important for Hovis to know where the environmental hotspots in their supply chain are," says University of Sheffield supply chain and energy efficiency researcher, Dr Liam Goucher. "By working with us, we can help them identify those hotspots and develop targeted solutions that both reduce the impact on the environment and make them more efficient as a company."

Using real-world data ranging from the energy consumption of its ovens and mills, to the volume of fertiliser used on its farmers’ fields, members of a multidisciplinary research team are now undertaking analysis using the Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) developed by Professor Lenny Koh at the University’s Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre.

"This tool allows us to pin point where the weak points in a supply chain are and assess their impact across a range of environmental indicators,” says Professor Koh. Early results, which are currently being poured over by Hovis and independent agricultural intelligence services company, Agrii.

"What makes this project especially interesting to a company like Hovis, is that once we have identified and quantified environmental impact throughout the supply chain, the members of our multidisciplinary team are able to develop viable and sustainable interventions to address key problem areas," says Dr Liam Goucher, who has undertaken much of the original research.

Whether it is a way to reduce the energy inputs needed to bake the more than 60 million loaves annually in a single bakery, or the development of novel seed varieties and production techniques, the Sheffield team has the intellectual resource to design these solutions.

But for biochemist, Professor Peter Horton, of the University’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, this specific piece of research has much wider implications. “We know that big challenges such as sustainable food production will not be met by research within a single discipline. That’s why we are so passionate about the integration of science, engineering and social science here at Sheffield. By creating teams like this we can not only identify the problems, we can also design the sustainable solutions,” he added.

Prof Lenny Koh discusses AREC as part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF)

Prof Koh presents her research into resource efficiency and the circular economy for the festival, linked to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation:

University helps global organisations reduce environmental impact of their supply chains

An innovative tool launched by the University of Sheffield in partnership with Microsoft is helping organisations to reduce the environmental impact of their supply chains.

In alignment with the upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in France later this year, the urgent need to reach an international agreement to battle CO2 emissions is unequivocal.

Now, public and private sector organisations have the ability to better understand the environmental impact of their supply chain thanks to a new Cloud based tool SCEnAT+ (Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool).

SCEnAT+ has been implemented in various organisations to help reduce their carbon emissions and pinpoint efficiency improvement opportunities within their supply chains. By running an analysis of a supply chain and presenting a carbon “heat-map”, SCEnAT+ provides recommendations for reducing the carbon footprint of the supply chain.

The pioneering tool enables companies to perform improved life cycle analysis, better life cycle costing, supply chain benchmarking and evaluation of a plethora of supply chain environmental impact on the ecosystem and wider economy, leading to increased revenues and decreased CO2 emission.

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, said: “Microsoft’s Futures programme is the ideal platform for us to base the SCEnAT+ on as it will enable its scalability, interoperability and reconfigurability.

“We look forward to working with Microsoft on further new developments in the future. Our goal is embedding sustainability conditions in all decision making across supply chains around the world.”

Mike Davies, Head of Higher Education Business from Microsoft UK, said: “We are pleased to announce this new partnership with the University of Sheffield and its Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre.

“The SCEnAT+ has the ability to provide great benefits to organisations in reducing the cost and environmental impact of their supply chains, and it also showcases the abilities of our Cloud services.”

Dr Kenji Takeda, Solutions Architect and Technical Manager from Microsoft Research, added: “The future of research collaboration will be accelerated via Azure Research and Azure Marketplace which provide a rapid innovation environment supported by Cloud technology. SCEnAT+ technology is based on Azure infrastructure. We are looking forward to our next phase of collaboration with the University of Sheffield.”

Companies that have used SCEnAT+ include:

  • Muntons, the UK’s leading malt supplier who exports their products globally it reduced their CO2 emissions by 650 tonnes, following recommendations identified in SCEnAT+.
  • Northern Foods, which has managed to save 2.4 million road kilometres by implementing a Virtual Meeting Policy as recommended through the use of SCEnAT+.
  • Outokumpu, stainless steel producer saved £300,000 in energy costs after analysing their supply chain and implementing the identified potential solutions from using SCEnAT+.

David Clarkson, Managing Director of DBL Logistics said: “I am proud to say that DBL Logistics played a part in the SCEnAT+ development and for any companies involved the tool offers a unique opportunity to gain a new perspective of their supply chain and identify opportunities for both carbon and financial savings.”

See more coverage of this news here and here.

Sustainability expert to drive forward city's low-carbon sector

Prof Lenny KohA renowned expert on sustainability, and Director of CEES, has been chosen to help drive forward Sheffield’s low-carbon sector.

Professor Lenny Koh from the Management School, a specialist on low-carbon supply chains, has been selected as one of three new Chairs of the 'Sustainability Partnership for business, innovation and skills' for the Sheffield City Region.

Professor Koh will work alongside Oliver Coppard, from the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, and Teresa Hitchcock, from law firm DLA Piper, as co-chairs to represent the education, public and private sectors.

A recent report by Oxford Economics found that over 9600 people are employed in the low carbon sector across the Sheffield City Region, and suggested that the sector will create over 1000 jobs in the region before 2021, adding over £80 million to the local economy.

The sector covers areas such as as low-emission vehicles, waste processing, low-carbon electricity and heat, low-carbon advisory and finance services and developing energy-efficiency products.

Professor Koh said: “We’re really thrilled to be taking on the challenge of driving this sector forward in Sheffield City Region. Given what is going on at a national and international level, the opportunity to develop a thriving, growing sector could not be bigger or more exciting.

Scenat+ Launch Event“Over the coming weeks and months our priority will be to listen to as many voices as we can from across the region’s businesses, innovation hubs, local authorities and third sector organisations, so that we know exactly what our industry needs from the Sheffield City Region if we’re going to move forward.

“With the Northern Powerhouse and the devolution agenda moving forward so quickly, there is a real, once in a generation chance to get the support from government that our low carbon sector needs. There are some big challenges ahead, but with the right support we really can exploit our well-earned global reputation for excellence and innovation.”

The Partnership will continue feeding into the Sheffield City Region growth plan, through initiatives such as the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), run by Professor Koh. The Centre seeks to develop resource efficiency within the advanced materials and manufacturing, energy, agricultural technology and food, healthcare and transport industries.

Over the coming months, the new Chairs of the Partnership have also committed to a ‘leadership and learning’ model, engaging with the wider low carbon sector through a series of events and meetings across the region.

The first outing for the new look group will be at the launch of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre’s (AREC) SCEnAT+ tool in London on the 24 September 2015 sponsored by Microsoft (click leaflet above).

Recycling e-waste worth up to 3.7 billion euros to Europe

Prof Lenny KohRecycling waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) more effectively could be worth up to 3.7 billion euros to the European market as well as reducing environmental pollution, an award winning research paper has found.

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of CEES, along with colleagues Federica Cucciella, Idiano D’Adomo and Paolo Rosa from the University of L’Aquila and Politecnico di Milano have recently published a paper entitled ‘Recycling of WEEEs: an economic assessment of present and future e-waste streams’.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, with an estimated growth rate between three and five per cent each year.

Professor Koh, Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) and a world leading expert on low carbon supply chains, said: “We have been working on the collaborative research for several years with the University of L’Aquila and Politecnico di Milano. This builds from our prior research on turning waste into resource, resource efficiency and circular economy.

“In particular, this research has strong relevance to addressing global issues of materials availability and security, reducing reliance on unused non-renewable materials, especially precious, critical and rare earth materials in manufacturing for sustainability and for consideration for substitution.”

The paper presents a comprehensive framework supporting the decision-making process of multiple electronic recycling centres. The assessment defined the potential revenues coming from the recovery of valuable materials, such as gold and platinum, in 14 electronic items including notebooks, monitors, smartphones, hard drives and tablets using current and future disposed quantities in Europe.

It found that recycling electronic waste was equal to 2.15 billion euros in overall potential revenue to the European market in 2014 and could rise to 3.67 billion euros by 2020. As well as providing a significant source of revenue, more effective recovery of materials could benefit the environment by reducing manufacturers’ reliance on unprocessed resources.

Professor Koh added: “The recycling of e-waste could allow the diminishing use of virgin resources in manufacturing and, consequently, it could contribute in reducing environmental pollution.

“Given that EU has tried over the last two decades to develop a circular economy based on the exploitation of resources recovered by wastes, this research is key evidence to influence both industry and government on the financial and economic value of materials recovery of WEEE.”

With the development of new electronic items and waste set to increase, the research highlights the need for manufacturers and recycling centres to work more closely together in order to recover more material from disposed equipment. It also recommends needed the development of more flexible recycling plants able to intercept different types of end of life products.

Following publication earlier this month, the research has been recognised by academic publisher Elsevier with the prestigious Atlas Award.

The award recognises scientific research that has an impact on people around the world and is selected by an advisory board based on suggestions from the publishers of Elsevier's 1,800 journals each month.

Professor Gill Valentine, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “I am delighted to hear that Professor Koh and her colleagues have been recognised with the Elsevier Atlas Award. This insightful work demonstrates the significant impact research here at the University can have on our world and the environment.”

An award ceremony for the presentation of the Elsevier Atlas Award will be held at the Management School on 29 September 2015.

AREC at SheffEX 2015

The Sheff EX Business Event took place on the 6th of June at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. The event showcased international and local businesses with over 100 exhibitors present. AREC exhibited in partnership with the Sheffield Chambers of Commerce. Along with exhibition stands there were numerous interactive seminars and presentations given covering a wide range of topics. The conference focused on promoting interactions across industries. The event was well attended throughout the day and was a great event for giving exposure to various businesses. A number of these businesses were also focused on sustainability and reducing emissions as AREC is, this included BMW who showcased their new I range of cars that have reduced emissions.

AREC at the Management Directors Club - Kelham Island

AREC attended a Management Directors club event held at Kelham Island Museum. The event was held on the 11th of May and focused on Innovation, Collaboration and Growth. Case studies were presented giving examples of good collaboration within industries. These case studies were presented by Tinsley Bridge, Fripp Designs and Durham Duplex. AREC had a stand at the event a long with exhibits from the Mercury Centre and other University Departments. This event was an excellent opportunity for AREC to disseminate to numerous industries and promote the power of strong collaboration with industry and Academia.

 AREC At the Factory 2050 Conference

The Factory 2050 Conference took place on the 25th & 26th of March 2015 at the Advanced Manufacturing Park. The AMRC Executive Dean, Professor Keith Ridgway CBE led the Factory 2050 Conference. This conference featured speakers from organisations around the world discussing what the factory of the future will be like. Presentations included the reconfigurable manufacturing, the role people will have in Factory 2050 and also the challenges to supply chains in the future.

  • The presentations aimed to answer questions such as:
  • What will Factory 2050 look like?
  • How will it differ across industrial sectors?
  • How will it interface with the supply chain?
  • What technologies will be used to make Factory 2050 a reality?
  • What will be the impact of new and innovative processes?
  • What role will people play and how will they be adequately trained?

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), delivered a presentation entitled ‘Future Supply Chain Environmental and Decision Science’ at the Factory 2050 Conference. Her presentation focused on how supply chains in the future will have to adapt and how the supply chain will fit into the factory reconfigurability of the future. The topic of supply chains adaptability was also discussed by other speakers at the conference demonstrating the importance of supply chain sustainability. This highlights the importance of the work of AREC.

AREC had a stand at the conference engaging with industry representatives and discussing with them how working with AREC can help their industry. The conference was well attended over the two days with over 200 guests and speakers from different international companies.

It was a great event for industry and academics to come together and discuss the opportunities and challenges of the future. The conference also highlighted the importance of the development of resource sustainable supply chains.

Supply Chain Success in the REF2014

The research from the LSCM Research Centre, CEES and AREC including outputs, environment and impact case studies made extraordinary achievements in the REF2014 boosting the ranking of the REF2014 results in The University of Sheffield and also of the Management School specifically:
• Top five in the Russell Group for research impact
• Top ten in the UK for research impact
Professor Lenny Koh, Director of LSCM Research Centre, CEES and AREC said: “This extraordinary achievement shows that the world leading researchers in supply chain and resource sustainability are The University of Sheffield, and The University of Sheffield is the ‘go to’ place for research and impact in this area. It is also recognition that shows our research has made a difference to the world, industry and society.”
Details of the REF Impact Case Studies contributed by our Centres are shown in the links below:

Press Release - Organisations benefit from the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) - NOV 2014

The launch of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), led by Professor Lenny Koh from the Sheffield University Management School, has captured the attention of organisations looking to improve their sustainable credentials, both locally and on a national scale.

AREC has been formed as a facility to promote collaboration between industry and academics who can help introduce resource efficiency and sustainability across supply chains. It also offers a platform for access to policy makers and focuses on four main industries: Advanced Materials and Manufacturing; Energy and Nuclear; Water; and Agritech/Food.

Professor Koh together with her exceptional team across Faculties and disciplines, taken from leading industry and academia, have identified a number of issues affecting the development of resource sustainable supply chains in large organisations including getting support from the board for sustainability improvements, unless there is a legal requirement or financial benefit. AREC also recognises that Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) need to overcome supply chain challenges so gives them the opportunity to collaborate with larger industrial partners to benefit from their cutting edge academic research and skills – this endeavour fits directly with current Government and EU policies.

Industry partners such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Tata Steel, Unilever and DLA Piper – in collaborations overseen by Professor Koh’s team, organisations of every size can benefit from their expertise and resources.

It is AREC’s view that long-term success lies in achieving a fair and sustainable balance between rewarding all stakeholders in a business, not just the shareholders. With this approach, customers, suppliers, employees and the community in which the business operates should benefit.

‘Green’ and sustainable organisational elements are becoming increasingly important to reputation, and investors are developing a longer-term view on their partners – if firms are seen to be neglecting these vital criteria, customers may choose to go to a competitor that is doing them well.

AREC will support businesses in considering development in these areas, and will provide resources and partnerships with which to do so. Professor Koh said: “I am delighted to be leading this Centre. The calibre of our industrial and academic partnerships speaks millions about the attention and investment the University is putting into our initiative.

“Sustainability and socially-responsible work practices are built into Sheffield University Management School’s mission statement, so my involvement and that of my Management colleagues is very relevant. This initiative sits strategically well with the specific research priority of the Faculty of Social Science on climate change and sustainable growth. The translational and cross disciplinary nature of the AREC work in partnership with industry, departments and Research Centres from the Faculties of Social Science, Science and Engineering as well as the University’s AMRC and Nuclear ARMC, connecting lower TRL and higher TRL activities together for greater societal impact.”

To find out more about the AREC, visit, or email

Energy Policy: Sweating Our Assets with Rt Hon Laura Sandys MP

Date: Thurs 30 Oct 2014
Time: 16.30 - 18:00 followed by a drinks reception
Venue: Mappin Hall,Sir Frederick Main Building, Mappin Street, University of Sheffield, S14DT

We are delighted to welcome the Rt Hon Laura Sandys MP to the University to speak about Energy Policy and how 'Sweating Our Assets' by recycling and re-manufacturing can help with the green circular economy.

Following Laura's lecture, there will be short talks from two of the University's Early Career Researchers. Dr Grant Wilson from the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering will discuss the use and importance of Energy Data analysis in scenario planning and Liam Goucher from the Management School will talk about SCOT, a European Commission funded project at the University of Sheffield which is tasked to help define the Strategic European Research & Innovation Agenda and provide a Joint Action Plan for its implementation across Member States.

The event is free and open to all, including members of the public, but places need to be reserved via the Eventbrite website.

The 'Sweating Our Assets: Productivity and Efficiency Across the UK Economy'report, which was chaired by Laura Sandys MP, is available to read here.

BIN Action tank flyer 1

BIN Action Tank Flyer 2

ERSC Festival of Social Science 2014 banner

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2014

As part of the UK-wide Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science, taking place from the 1st - 8th November 2014, we are holding two events relating to our research into susitainable supply chains. Information regarding each event, and how to book, can be found below.

Title: Improving Supply Chain Efficiency and Competitiveness under Resource Scarcity
Date & time: Mon 3 November 2014, 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Location: Sheffield University Management School, Hitchcock Boardroom
Booking: you must register in order to attend this event. Please go to the Sheffield Management School Gateway and complete the booking form.
Summary: The University of Sheffield (UoS) excels in supply chain management and resource efficiency. The Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) combines the University’s expertise in Supply Chain Management, Advanced Materials, Agritech & Energy to produce a unique, world-class research facility. It provides business with access to the knowledge, capabilities and tools to reduce the environmental, economic and social impact of their supply chain in a sustainable and innovative way. There is increasing academic and corporate interest in green and sustainable supply chain management (Koh et al 2012) and low carbon technologies. This is derived from a need to reduce dependency on our carbon based resources by adopting approaches that impact on the TBL of ecological, economic and social indicators. There are currently no facilities in the world that offer bespoke multidisciplinary Supply Chain Resource Sustainability TBL modelling solutions for private enterprise to buy into. AREC will be the first to offer this by developing a multi-layered modelling facility, channelling it through a new corporate-facing Supply Chain Hub infrastructure. AREC is also a Futures 2022 initiative within the UoS. This workshop will look into tools in economic and social dimensions, alongside science and engineering, to scope out the intersections for collaborations and interventions. It will engage with a range of stakeholders including government, industry, universities, the 3rd sector and the public, to gather multiple views on how this research can be exploited.

Title: Promoting Sustainable Supply Chain Growth by Research and Innovation Exploitation
Date & time: Mon 3 November 2014, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Location: Sheffield University Management School, Hitchcock Boardroom
Booking: you must register in order to attend this event. Please go to the Sheffield Management School Gateway and complete the booking form.
Summary: This interactive workshop will discuss the work of Professor Koh’s two leading Research Centres – The Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) and the Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) Research Centre; and how their research improves supply chain efficiency and competitiveness under resource scarcity. These Research Centres undertake cutting edge research and create practical tools which impact on practice, academia and industry throughout the world. This vibrant research community attracts significant investment from a wide range of funding bodies and industry partners around the world. From this research, Professor Koh and her team produced the Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT). SCEnAT is a first step on the pathway in adopting a balanced green supply chain system approach. It is a robust, cloud based DSS application and a modular supply chain modelling tool, which incorporates a very advanced Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and 1-0 methodology, supply chain mapping, intervention database and performance evaluation and KPI facilities. In the LLP EU funded project, Promoting Environmentally Sustainable SMEs (PrESS) the tool is being developed further and will be rolled out to wider SMEs in Europe, its methodology will be further advanced, and skills and training on supply chain environmental improvement and SCEnAT will be provided.

Another relevant event as  part of the UK-wide Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science, relates to the ERSC funded TRANSFER project, specifically how to promote more conscientious consumption of fashion, energy and water.

Title: Put a better foot forward: perspectives of sustainable consumption from the world of fashion
Date & time: Tues 4 November 2014, 09:00-12:00 or 14:00-17:00
Location: 17 The Moor (formerly Woolworths), Sheffield S1 4PF
Booking: you must register in order to attend this event. Please go to the website to book.
Summary: An interactive workshop to promote more conscientious consumption of fashion, focusing on your footprint.

SCRS/ AREC workshop - 29th July 2014

51 industry representatives and academics explored supply chain challenges during a half day workshop held at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. The aim of this workshop was to foster closer working relationships between Sheffield University academics and leading businesses in key strategic areas.

Professor Lenny Koh, supported by a distinguished team of respected academics, led the Supply Chain Resource Sustainability (SCRS) workshop, helping to shape the vision and programme of supply chain resource sustainability research for translational and high impact performance. The workshop was very well attended, resulted in an informed and diverse range of opinions and identified key collaborative areas, capabilities and tools around supply chain resource sustainability needed by industry to address their resources supply chain challenges.

The workshop also introduced the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), a facility for supporting the development of competitive advantage by creating world leading, resource sustainable supply chains through collaborative action between industry and academia, especially in the thematic areas where Sheffield University has extensive expertise,including:

  1. Advanced materials and manufacturing
  2. Energy and nuclear
  3. Water
  4. Agritech/food

A summary of the workshop findings and priorities can be found below. A full copy of the SCRS/ AREC Workshop Report, and copies of the presentation slides, can be downloaded using the link to the right hand side of this page.

Summary diagram showing outcomes of the workshop

Following the successful workshop and publication of the report, the next steps for the project are:

  • October 2014 - formation of steering groups to develop project matrix
  • January 2015 - prepare and issue business case for approval from key stakeholders. Produce a series of proposals from key partners to raise funding and generate contributions.