Now that we are about to end the project seems a good time to reflect on the work done during this years. During this last year of the project we have been extremely busy finalizing the fine-tuning of the different efficiency measures tested inside each factory. At the beginning of the project, we had a basic idea of what can be done inside each of the three demo factories to help them in the grand objective of improving their sustainability. Surprisingly, we found many opportunities about energy and resource saving in each of them. Finally, we decided to go not for one but five different efficiency measures in each of the factories. This decision meant a huge amount of work, but let us to explore the potential impact of applying our methodology in different areas like recovery of waste heat, integration of renewable resources or production optimization.
Along the project, factory owners faced energy efficiency improvement in a new way. Usually, companies buy solutions. In REEMAIN we made the factories the main characters, collaborating with them, exploring the options for efficiency, helping them choosing the best solution and then making an evaluation without bias. Stay tuned as we will deliver in the coming weeks a plan for the extrapolation of the different efficiency measures so the manufacturing sector can take advantage of the obtained results.
Apart from the tested efficiency measures, we worked in the development of technologies like a simulation software tool for factories that relies on information such the technical description of the factories including the envelope and how the different machines are interconnected and create their products (cookies, metal pieces or cool denim fabric in REEMAIN). With this information, the tool analyses the working profiles and gives the manager a preliminary advice where to save energy and resources. This kind of tools will be the future when planning factory interventions.
In addition of the technical solutions tested and to spread the knowledge acquired outside the project has another achievement. We have made a methodology (currently in CEN/CENELEC standardization process) which is in a form of a set of heuristics to facilitate its practical implementation in factories. Furthermore, we have compiled into an e-book, a set of best practices that gathers interesting practical experience gained during our project. For example a suggestion from our side to factories is that they should embrace the change when it comes to energy efficiency and rely on internal experience and energy use data. Data is highly relevant to find, analyse and assess these opportunities for improvement. As Peter Drucker said "If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it".