7 energy efficiency tips for automotive manufacturers

Man looking at controls.png

There are tough times in automotive right now. In the year to date, overall output has declined by -6.6% according to SMMT, driven predominantly by falling UK demand, which is currently down -18.6%. This has been compounded by slower growth across Europe and the uncertainty over Brexit and new diesel regulations.  The low pound also means raw materials and subcomponents are more expensive, so every pound in the business has to go further.

How can the energy manager do their bit to help the company reduce its energy consumption and become more efficient?  Here are our top tips:

  1. In BasePower’s experience, getting a multi-disciplinary team together to address energy use across the business is the most helpful first step. It will take engineers to identify where energy can be saved, but back-up from procurement and finance colleagues gives credence to savings forecasts and can make it much easier to secure any necessary investment.

  2. It is essential to understand where you use the most energy, so aim to collect hourly energy use data for each major plant item for a defined period of time. You can then start to identify where waste occurs and savings can be made.

  3. A cheap and effective way of saving energy is for it to become embedded in the behavioural culture of the business. All employees can feel responsible for playing their part.  Successful examples include switching non-essential machinery off when production stops, and regular re-setting of flow and temperature settings. As well as costing nothing to introduce, these also reduce wear and tear costs on plant.

  4. If you haven’t carried out many energy efficiency projects before, it is best to start with low-budget interventions with solid paybacks as these build confidence. LED lighting is at least 60% more efficient even than fluorescent systems. Variable Speed Drives, which allow motors, pumps and conveyors to be operated at just the power required to achieve the desired output, also reduce start-stop wear and tear on plant.

  5. Power Factor Correction increases the low power factor often experienced by manufacturers, thereby reducing the site’s kVA and kVArh costs.

  6. Air compressor heat recovery captures the 90% of compressor energy that would otherwise be dissipated as heating the oil cooler, using it on site for space heating and similar high volume, low temperature requirements.

  7. Destratification fans reduce space heat requirements by up to 20% through homogenising air temperatures within high buildings.

The impact of any one of these tips is relatively small in isolation. However demonstrating successful paybacks internally is really effective in building confidence for more ambitious interventions such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) projects where the big savings really start to stack up. 

On-going rises in energy prices mean that many of BasePower’s own on-site energy generation schemes deliver savings of over 15% on the grid cost of energy supplied when fully-funded by BasePower, while customer-funded projects can pay back in in three years or less if well-utilised, as well as significantly reducing the site’s carbon footprint.  Contact us for more information.


Screenshot 2018-10-16 13.35.46.png

The pressure to be leaner and greener is prompting manufacturers to take a long hard look at their energy usage. BasePower’s George Fowkes is interviewed by Food Manufacturer magazine on how the food industry can reduce its energy costs with CHP.

This article was published in the September issue of Food Manufacturer and is also available on their website.

BasePower Shortlisted for Second Industry Award for Automotive Project

ADE Awards 2018 - Finalist.jpg

BasePower’s on-site energy scheme at Plastic Omnium, Measham has been shortlisted for an Association of Decentralised Energy award, the second time that a BasePower project has reached the finals of an industry award in 2018.

The Combined Heat, Power and Cooling project at Plastic Omnium, Measham, is recognised as the first on-site energy scheme in the UK automotive sector to use absorption chiller technology to significantly reduce energy costs and carbon. Since the project was switched on in June 2017 the targeted savings for electricity and heat use have already been exceeded, along with a considerable improvement in the site’s CO2 footprint.

The Association of Decentralised Energy (ADE) awards are designed to recognise and celebrate decentralised energy achievements and the innovations of the future. The awards will take place at a black tie event at London’s Guildhall on 25th October.

BasePower’s project at Plastic Omnium Measham also made the finals of the Business Green Leaders Awards earlier in the year, while its CHP at Groupe Lactalis Caledonian Cheese in Stranraer won a Rushlight Award in 2017.

BasePower shortlisted for Business Green Leaders Award for automotive project

Business green award logo.png

BasePower has been shortlisted for a Business Green Leaders Award for its on-site energy project at Plastic Omnium, a Tier 1 supplier to the automotive industry. The Business Green Leaders Awards shine a light on the UK's leading green businesses, recognising the progress of sustainable business models and clean technologies which have continued to force their way into the mainstream.

BasePower has reached the shortlist in the annual sustainability awards for the company's initiatives to drive energy efficiency in the automotive industry.  Its CHP project at Plastic Omnium Measham, a Tier 1 supplier to JLR and Nissan, is recognised as the first CHP project in the UK automotive sector to use absorption chiller technology to significantly reduce energy costs and carbon. 

BasePower will join finalists across 25 different categories at the 8th annual Business Green Leaders Award awards ceremony, taking place on Wednesday 27 June at the Brewery, London.


Cranswick partners with BasePower for major energy project on flagship site

RS6591_Preston 27 .jpg


BasePower, an award-winning provider of on-site power plants for the food and industrial sectors, today announces a 9 year Power Purchase Agreement with Cranswick plc, for its Cranswick Country Foods site in Preston, Hull.

Cranswick plc, a FTSE 250 company, is one of the largest food producers in Britain.  Cranswick Country Foods in Hull is the company’s biggest site, producing fresh pork products and processing over 6500 pigs per day.

To support a number of improvement projects at Preston, Cranswick wanted to make its energy infrastructure more competitive and sustainable. BasePower will develop, install and operate a 2.0MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system, producing low-carbon electricity, steam and hot water for use in the site’s manufacturing process. The scheme also includes the upgrade of other heat infrastructure to maximise energy efficiency in the sterilisation and sanitisation processes.

BasePower has provided the full investment for the CHP system under a 9 year Power Purchase Agreement and will construct and operate the CHP throughout its life. The installation is already underway, with switch-on expected in late Summer 2018.

Darren Andrew, Site Director, Cranswick Country Foods said:
“We are delighted to work with BasePower to establish a low-carbon, on-site energy scheme for Preston, which is closely aligned with our Second Nature sustainability initiative. In an environment of rising power costs this will further improve our energy efficiency, helping to keep Cranswick at the cutting edge of cost competitiveness and reducing our environmental impact.”

George Fowkes, Director of BasePower said:
“We are now seeing real traction for CHP in the food sector as manufacturers realise they can achieve a step-change reduction in energy costs and carbon emissions with on-site energy generation.  By working in close collaboration with the Cranswick team, the site will continue with business as usual while the CHP project is being installed, commissioned and operated.”        

Picture courtesy of Cranswick PLC

BasePower seeks Head of Business Development, Sustainable Energy Generation

Are you interested in helping major blue chip organisations reduce their energy costs and environmental impact through an exciting business development role?  Are you perhaps returning from a career break and looking for an opportunity to take an entrepreneurial company to a new level?

BasePower is an award-winning company with an innovative business model that helps large manufacturers make a step-change reduction in their energy costs and carbon emissions. The company was founded in 2014 by a team who had previously deployed over £130m of investment into renewables generation and energy efficiency in the UK.

We are looking for a Head of Business Development to join our rapidly expanding company which develops, funds and installs on-site energy schemes, and has a growing portfolio of FTSE 250 clients in the automotive and food manufacturing sectors.

Whilst experience in the power/energy or manufacturing sectors could be an advantage, we are primarily looking for a self-starter with a track record of solutions selling in a business-to-business environment, who is capable of building relationships at the highest level.

The role is suitable for flexible working. You don’t have to be based in London but will need to travel regularly to our offices near Waterloo station, and of course to manufacturing sites throughout the country. 

This is a supported hire position in conjunction with Women Returners: successful hires who have taken a career break of 2+ years will receive coaching support through the transition period.

For more information and a full job description please contact george.fowkes@basepower.com.To apply, please send your CV by email to Tom Shoobridge at info@barnabystewart.com quoting HOBD/246/19.


BasePower to Address Food and Beverage Conference on Avoiding Rising Energy Costs in the Light of Brexit

SFS Events General 300 x 250 mpu.jpg

The 4th annual Sustainable Food and Beverage Conference is set to take place next week and will bring together a wide range of stakeholders instrumental in creating a sustainable food and beverage industry.

Robin Hardy, BasePower’s Director of Projects will deliver a seminar on one of the most important issues currently facing the industry:  How Should Food and Drink Manufacturers Address Rising Energy Costs in the Light of Brexit?

 In a post-referendum UK the lower pound should be a boon to food manufacturers seeking growth in export markets.  However as food and drink manufacturing is an energy intensive process, businesses are facing rapidly rising energy costs caused by increases in the wholesale and pass-through components of power prices. Concerned about this and the decades of under investment in UK energy infrastructure, manufacturers are increasingly looking at energy sources that are cost-effective, resilient and sustainable.

Large industrial energy users have used on-site power generation, in the form of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) for decades. However, a combination of technical and business model innovation is now making CHP particularly attractive for food and drink manufacturers, with an increasing number of successful projects which are reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.

In this seminar BasePower will discuss recent improvements in on-site power generation, heat and cooling, using award-winning case studies from the food and industrial sectors. These case studies show how high-volume energy users have accessed fully financed, build-own-operate CHP schemes without any requirement for capital expenditure, and have been installed without any interruption to operations.

The annual Sustainable Food and Beverage Conference is being held on 7th November 2017 at the Ricoh Arena Coventry. To find out more and register visit the event website.

Review of Interplas 2017

Interplas2017 0161.jpg

“Innovation happens here” was the theme of Interplas 2017 which this year housed almost five hundred exhibitors alongside a supporting program of talks on the challenges and innovations in today’s plastics industry. 

Not surprisingly automotive uses and requirements featured prominently in the programme.

Ian Ray, Lead Materials Engineer of JLR opened the speakers’ lineup.

Plastics already make up 20% by weight of a typical JLR vehicle but three megatrends – towards electric propulsion and autonomous control, and away from traditional ownership – offer a big opportunity for this to grow. Ian called for the UK automotive industry to collaborate to keep Britain at the forefront of these trends.

Building on the theme of energy use and echoing JLR’s call for further weight reduction in cars, Mark Ellis, Manager Materials Design and Test at Nissan Europe, also warned that rising energy costs and riskier supply are major challenges for the industry.

The energy theme was continued throughout the conference. After CSS Technology’s seminar on how injection moulders can increase energy efficiency, George Fowkes of BasePower took to the stage in the afternoon to talk about Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Ongoing power price rises are very difficult to pass onto customers and CHP allows plastics manufacturers to make major inroads into energy and emissions savings.

George explained that for most industrial energy users power and heat are is still sourced separately from the grid. Using energy in this way is only around 50% efficient. A well-designed CHP project can be as much as 80-90% efficient, however. This gives an opportunity for major cost and carbon savings.  

George went on to outline recent improvements in generation efficiency, absorption chilling and finance models. Together these are making CHP an attractive option for an ever-wider audience of energy users. He showcased BasePower's recent project at Plastic Omnium Automotive, a Tier 1 supplier of automotive exteriors. The 2MW CHP scheme at Plastic Omnium’s Measham factory supplies power, heat and chill to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.

Throughout Interplas there was a clear message to automotive and polymer manufacturers to take energy seriously. If you spend £1m or more on energy then the savings from CHP really start to stack up. BasePower is here to help.

(Image supplied courtesy of Interplas)

Automotive Factory of the Future

NAA @ AMRC Sep 17 001 low res.jpg

Factory 2050, at the heart of Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Campus, is home to the UK’s leading centre for collaborative research in manufacturing. This was the setting for the latest Northern Automotive Alliance event which BasePower attended last week.

The primary audience for Factory 2050 is aerospace and other high value manufacturing industries – such as automotive and nuclear. Broadly, its main research themes are:

  1. Robotics – the use of robots and human-collaborating ‘cobots’ for improved accuracy and quality
  2. Enhanced Environments – providing human workers with real-time, virtual information to reduce assembly times and errors
  3. Metrology – how to measure, cheaply and quickly, to the increasingly fine tolerances needed for advanced manufacturing and
  4. Digitising the Supply Chain to allow ever smaller production runs and finer customisation.

Members of the NAA were treated to a talk about the research park’s activities, followed by a tour of the central facility and an insight into some of its imaginative projects. These range from automated inspection systems for 10-metre long bonded joints, via assisted reality glasses for complex assembly jobs, to robots fetching and feeding parts to humans. Several of these actually look to be on the cusp of commercialisation and we look forward to seeing some in NAA members’ factories within a few years.

Factory 2050 is well worth a visit, if you can get one. More information can be found by visiting their website. 

Interplas: BasePower to Speak on CHP at Leading Plastics Event


BasePower’s George Fowkes has been invited to give an address at Interplas, the international conference and exhibition for the plastics sector, taking place at the NEC Birmingham, from 26-28 September. George will join a stellar line-up of speakers to discuss advances in megawatt scale Combined Heat and Power (CHP) which are driving energy savings and CO2 emissions reduction in plastics manufacturing.

The lower value pound since the Brexit referendum should be a boon to manufacturers seeking growth in export markets.  Yet energy intensive industries such as plastics face rapidly rising energy costs due to increases in the wholesale and pass-through components of power prices. Concerned about this and the decades of underinvestment in UK energy infrastructure, manufacturers are increasingly looking at energy sources that are cost-effective, resilient and sustainable.

George will discuss recent improvements in generation efficiency, absorption chilling and finance models, which are making Combined Heat and Power (CHP) an attractive option for large energy users. The session will show case studies from the automotive and other industrial sectors including BasePower’s recently launched project at Plastic Omnium, a Tier 1 supplier to the global automotive industry.

InterPlas, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham in 26-28 September 2017, is a tri-annual exhibition covering the processes, technologies and services essential to plastics manufacturing. The conference will cover a variety of key topics, including the manufacture and supply of plastics into the automotive and medical industries; advancing plastics manufacturing; and sustainability, recycling and the move towards a circular economy.