Analysis and Commentary

Saving through smarter energy use: Energy management and Industry 4.0

Analysis and Commentary

@AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series finishes today. In this article A S M Monjurul Hasan discusses the future of industrial energy management. 

Academic and industrial experts have been talking about ensuring sustainability in the energy domain for many years.

While addressing this issue, experts have always focused on two main factors – renewable energy and energy efficiency. Energy efficiency plays a key role in accelerating the clean energy transition as well as achieving global sustainability goals.

Unfortunately, in recent years, improvements in energy efficiency are declining. 

The pandemic has added an extra level of stress. As a result, in 2020, energy intensity improved by only 0.8 per cent, which is well below the level needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This nominal rate is certainly a matter of concern not only from a sustainability perspective but also in terms of resource depletion.

Regarding energy efficiency, energy management activities are acknowledged as the imperative mechanism in order to enhance energy efficiency among industrial users.

Interestingly, the fourth industrial revolution and energy management share a similar aspiration in enhancing efficiency, while having different trajectories. Nevertheless, notwithstanding energy management in industries, Industry 4.0 could remain stagnant and unsuccessful in facilitating the additional features of modern technology. 

It has become obvious that Industry 4.0 is inevitable in the days to come, with manufacturing enterprises facing consistent demands to lift productivity through smart factories and smart industrialised systems.

Yes, it is possible to adopt Industry 4.0 with the help of modern high-tech devices and solutions. But we should not forget about energy security, global warming and resource depletion rates through industrial activity. Considering energy security as well as global warming, industrial sectors must ensure maximum usage of their resources. 

Incorporation of energy management activities can improve industrial energy efficiency. Energy management practices are clear examples of efficiency measures that, without significant changes on the high-tech side, can deliver many productivity benefits. This is even more promising in light of connected devices for real-time measurement, which are within the broad “umbrella” of Industry 4.0.  

Energy management activities are predicted to grow, but little effort has been made through academia and industry so far. Specifically, there is a need for a model incorporating energy management and production resources in an industrial context.

To shed light into this field, I have been working to propose a framework in my PhD under the guidance of Professor Andrea Trianni at University of Technology Sydney. We expect that the model will help to assess and improve energy management at industrial organisations. 

A S M Monjurul Hasan is a Doctoral Researcher and Casual Academic at University of Technology Sydney’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology (FEIT.)

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@AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Saving through smarter energy use – is brought to you with the support of SMC Corporation.


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