The Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) carries out a large number of world-leading, high impact research projects. This site offers a brief description of some our most cutting-edge studies. For more information on each project, please see below.
The University of Sheffield received a grant of 2 million Euros from the European Commission to conduct research as part of GoF4R (Governance of the interoperability Framework for Rail and Intermodal Mobility) project. The study is funded by the Horizon 2020 Shift2Rail programme. Professor Elaine Toms and Professor Lenny Koh (CO-I) from the Management School, are working with Dr. Jon Paragreen from the Transport Innovation Centre Sheffield, to develop a structure for integrating and sharing data across different transportation operators which will serve to enhance seamless – door to door — mobility services using any form of transportation service. More information about GoF4R can be found at http://www.gof4r.eu/.
Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, Prof. Lenny Koh, was commissioned by COSTA 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 (BBC1).
According to the Guardian, Britons drink approximately 8 million takeaway coffees every day, resulting in roughly 3 billion used paper cups a year. Despite this staggering number, it is estimated that fewer than 1 in 400 cups is recycled. The £100,000 project includes an in-depth investigation of consumer attitudes and behaviours towards paper cups recycling, as well as a lab analysis of the cups’ materials to better assess necessary recycling processes. This project involves Professor Peter Styring, Dr Adrian Solomon and Dan Reed. SCEnAT was used in the mapping of the paper cup recycling chain. A large scale national survey was completed. Lab and pilot test of the paper cups were undertaken. The key finding will be announced in due course.
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.
Training for Energy Efficient Operation (TrainERGY)
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.
Blockchain and Intelligent Mobility
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.
Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), School of Management, is a CO-investigator in the £1.1 million Cradle-to-Grave Life Cycle Prediction of Automotive Materials and Systems in Service: Impact of Ageing on Performance (SIMULIFE) project. The study aims to address issues surrounding the aging of materials and associated consequences and is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). The project consists of three main steps. First, it hopes to identify the age parameter that represents, on a macroscopic scale, the micro and sub microscopic features, underlying processes such as nucleation and growth of micro defects, and/or physico-chemical transformations. Second, the project will formulate a constitutive equation that can mathematically represent ageing. Third, through experimental examination, the study will help identify conditions that lead to catastrophes such as small perturbation in controlling parameters which lead to large variations of the age parameter. Results obtained through each of this steps will facilitate understandings of the aging process will help improve Jaguar and Land Rover’s performance which will contribute to increasing customer satisfaction.
The project is undertaken in collaboration with Professor Constantinos Soutis, University of Manchester, who acts as the Principle Investigator. Other co-investigators from the University of Sheffield include Professor David Wagg, Departmental Director of Research and Innovation, Department of Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Alma Hodzic, Department of Mechanical Engineering; and Dr. Christophe Pinna, Department Head of Solids and Materials Teaching Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Other project members include co-investigator Philip Withers from the University of Manchester, researchers Saravanan Rajendran, Ying Wang, and Jasmin Stein, and Neil Hopkinson, Director of 3D Printing at Xaar.
Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation (LC3M)
In 2015, The University of Sheffield received a prestigious £10 million grant from the Leverhulme Trust to create the Leverhulme Climate Change Mitigation Centre. Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, 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 the mining, grinding, transporting and spreading of crushed rocks needed to support enhanced weathering strategies at meaningful scales for carbon capture devised in Theme 1 (Earth Systems Modelling) and Theme 3 (Applied Weathering Science) to enable integrated environmental assessment of the EW 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 analyzing and understanding the long-term environmental, social and economic impacts.
STFC AGRIFOOD NETWORK+
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).
EPSRC SubST Project
Professor Lenny Koh, Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre, School of Management, acts as co-investigator on the ‘Substitution and Sustainability in Functional Materials and Devices’ (SubST) project. The roughly £2.4 million project runs over a five-year period and is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The study 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. In addition, a Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) will be utilized on all projects. SCEnAT is coded based on the state-of-the-art methodology in carbon and has been used by leading industry such as TATA, Rolls-Royce and Sheffield Forgemasters International. This comprehensive approach will contribute to establishing holistic and sustainable alternatives to be used in the UK FMD sector.
TRANSENERGY - Road to Rail Energy Exchange (R2REE)
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.
Promoting Sustainable Freight Transport in Urban Context: Policy and Decision-making approaches (PROSFET)
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.
EU-India Research and Innovation Partnership for Efficient and Sustainable Freight Transportation (REINVEST)
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.
EPSRC DARE Project: Designing Alloys for Resource Efficiency – a manufacturing approach
The University of Sheffield is directing a large EPSRC-funded research collaboration that investigates resource efficient methods of designing and manufacturing metal alloys. The £3.3 million project is titled Designing Alloys for Resource Efficiency (DARE) and involves AREC member Professor Mark Rainforth, as well as multiple partners from industry and academia.
Society depends on the use of metal alloys in numerous areas of life, including in transport, batteries, orthopaedics, computers, and mobile phones, and many others. However, metal alloys are a finite resource, creating an urgent need for the development of resource efficient alloys. The DARE project works to address this challenge by designing and testing new alloys that are ready for implementation into industry.
The overall aim of the work will be to reduce the reliance on strategic metals and minimise waste in the metals industry. The methods developed within DARE will have a generic applicability to most metal alloys and will therefore impact on a wide range of industrial sectors, including manufacturing, transport, energy, healthcare technologies and defence. Through the design of resource efficient alloys, the DARE project will contribute towards the growth of one of the largest sectors within manufacturing in the UK and Europe, address the transition towards a low carbon society.
Academic partners include Professor Tony Paxton and Professor Mark van Schilfgaarde from Kings College London, Professor Fionn Dunne and Dr David Dye from Imperial College London, and Dr Pedro Eduardo Jose Rivera Diaz del Castillo from the University of Cambridge. Industry partners include Arcelor Mittal Steel, Magnesium Elektron magnesium alloy technology Rolls Royce, SAFRAN, Sheffield Forgemasters, SIEMENS, TATA STEEL and TIMET.
Civil Nuclear Value Chain Management: in Partnership with Rolls-Royce
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.
UK AGRIFOOD VALUE CHAIN RISK ANALYSIS (AVCRA)
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.
Lifecycle Assessment of CFRP Aircraft Fuselage
This collaborative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) project between Sheffield, Cambridge and UCL was completed and published in December 2014. It focused on the aeronautical industry and its environmental impact currently accountable for 1-1.5% of CO2 emissions globally but predicted to rise to 5% annually in 2016 due to demand of air travel. This project aimed to reduce emissions by 50% by targeting lighter material (composite) and eco fuel use. The life cycle of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was analysed and this information was then extrapolated to the global fleet.
Sustainability and Substitution in Functional Materials and Devices
This 5 years EPSRC funded research project aims to:
• Develop functional materials and devices that are sustainable
• Substitute critical materials and rare earth materials that are at risk through environmental legislation, geopolitical uncertainty and scarcity
• Understand the life cycle of the materials and devices supply chains
A project within this research investigates Perovskite solar cells and their stability and longevity. The use of oxides has the potential to be ground breaking. Many current devices contain lead which is an unsustainable resource; the new development of functional materials has given the industry potential contenders for replacing these lead based materials sustainably. Several projects are on-going investigating a number of sustainable new materials. Multiple industry partners are involved.
Metrics/Indicators, Methodology and Technology
This Project which is being funded by the ESPRC focuses on life cycle assessment, identifying high energy usage areas and potential interventions. Other indicators of impact such as toxicology and land use also being considered and using metrics to portray and analyse this data. This methodology has been applied to Perovskite solar cells to identify pathways to sustainability. These cells include some materials that are in low quantities. We are moving this modelling technique from lab projects data to real world case studies.
Multiple case studies and companies across the manufacturing industry (including advanced materials, energy and nuclear, agritech and food, and water) are involved.
European SMEs Environmental Sustainability
The EU funded PrESS Project is aimed at studying supply chains of SMEs across the EU in Italy, Poland, Greece and the UK. Using the SCEnAT Tool to map and model different industries supply chains, it will create 20 case studies from this project to help SMEs to decarbonise their supply chains.
This project also extends SCEnAT with new indicators (which extends beyond carbon accounting), benchmarking and life cycle costing capabilities.
Interrogating UK Wheat Supply Chain Sustainability
This EPSRC/IIKE funded project is a collaboration between AREC, Grantham, P3 and SheFF, with a leading industry partner in the food sector. This project aims to map and model the UK wheat supply chain using LCA and I-O analysis, and suggest new indicators for the food eco-system.
Energy Innovation for Deprived Communities
This is a complex and large scale ERDF funded project completed in 2014, which involves a large consortium partnership of 6 local authorities, 6 housing associations, an energy company and the University of Sheffield. It aimed to alleviate fuel poverty, stimulate the energy efficiency supply chain and low carbon economy, and reduce CO2 in the 10 most deprived communities in the Yorkshire and Humber region. A multi-disciplinary team from supply chain management, architecture, civil and structural engineering, computer science and psychology from the University were pulled together to deliver the innovation in live environments.
Composite Bio-Materials LCA
This project examines the environmental impact of new composite bio-materials. It aims to classify the environmental impact of the bio materials, and model the sustainability performance of their supply chains.
Energy Storage LCA
This project links to the EPSRC funded Energy Storage CDT. It aims to examine the environmental impact of battery supply chains, and develop alternative techno-economic model to account for this impact.
Noise Contour Analysis and Sustainable Development of UK Aviation
This project analysed and quantified the noise impact of UK airports, and examined stakeholders’ role in sustainable development of UK aviation.
Lithium-Ion Battery Supply Chain Risk and Resilience: An Automotive Industry Perspective
As part of the low carbon transport network, this White rose funded project analysed the supply chain risk and resilience of lithium-ion battery in the context of an electric vehicle supply chain. A model was proposed to assist organisational decision making in assessing the supply chain risk.
This DECC funded project examined the Green Deal perceptions with residents in Barnsley, working in partnership with the Barnsley Council. Several ‘show homes’ / case studies were created, coupled with survey analysis, concluding the real experience of Green Deal users.
As part of the energy efficiency network, this EPSRC funded project investigates the fuel poverty in England. It involves the adoption of an operational research technique and focus groups.