The Centre brings together multidisciplinary research groups of substantial complimentary experience and internationally leading research track record from the Universities of Brunel, Manchester and Birmingham as well as key stakeholders to investigate and develop innovative approaches and technologies to effect substantial end use energy demand reductions.
The Centre will engage both in cutting edge research into approaches and technologies that will have significant impacts in the future, leading towards the target of 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, but also into research that will have demonstrable impacts within the initial five year lifetime of the Centre.
A major research theme will involve whole system modelling and optimisation based on both bottom up and top down approaches to identify optimal ways for reducing energy use in food chains. A number of energy scenarios will also be explored, considering different configurations of food supply chains, UK energy prices and policy decisions. Another research theme will investigate technologies for reducing energy use at all stages of the chain; this can be by optimisation of resource use, or by lowering the energy needs of individual food-manufacturing processes from thermal treatment and pasteurisation, to mixing, baking, drying, cooling and freezing.
Emerging and new technologies will also be considered. A third strand of the research will consider both corporate and individual consumer behaviour alongside other factors such as changing demographics and increasing awareness of sustainable living on food consumption trends and how these affect food chain structure and energy use. As well as research activities the Centre will engage in an extensive programme of network and people-based activities to engage the wider national and international research community and industry, particularly SMEs.