UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering



OPTEMIN focuses on optimisation approaches applicable to most energy-intensive industrial sectors, aiming to offer the greatest potential for energy demand reduction and decarbonisation.

OPTEMIN logo showing a factory silhouette and arrows

23 July 2019

Project overview 

OPTEMIN takes a whole systems approach to the optimisation of energy management in industry by considering energy flows and demand reduction at three different levels:

  • individual process or plant level;
  • integration and optimisation of energy flows across the whole site;
  • interactions with national energy supply system (grid electricity and gas).

The approach will satisfy overall economic and environmental performance considerations by adoption of technologies, particularly waste heat recovery, and energy integration.


  • Principal Investigator: Prof Savvas Tassou, Civil, Mech. Engineering, Aerospace & Civil Eng, Brunel University London.
  • Prof Liz Varga, UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering.


The OPTEMIN project started on 1 Dec 2016, and is set to run for 48 months. 


  • The OPTEMIN project has received £1.6M in total funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Visit the EPSRC website.


  • Principal Investigator: Prof Savvas Tassou, Civil, Mech. Engineering, Aerospace & Civil Eng, Brunel University London.
  • Co-Investigator: Prof Liz Varga, UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE) with Associate Professor Yukun Hu, CEGE.  
  • Co-I: Dr Nazmiye Ozkan, School of Water, Energy, and Environment, Cranfield University.
  • Co-I: Professor Kang Li, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds.


The OPTEMIN project aims to demonstrate through the research programme and fully documented case studies supported by comprehensive data sets, the potential to achieve energy demand and carbon emission reductions in excess of 15%.

Why undertake this research?

Approximately 70% of the energy demand of the industrial sector is for heat. All heating processes result in significant quantities of waste heat, up to 50% in some cases, and it is widely acknowledged that there is significant potential for heat recovery, estimated at between 18-40 TWh/yr or £0.18-0.4 billion per year at today's energy prices. As yet, most of this potential has remained unexploited due to technical, economic and organisational factors. Other opportunities for energy efficiency and decarbonisation include the optimisation of steam systems that are responsible for 35% of industrial energy use, the use of bioenergy, particularly from organic and other wastes generated on site, and whole industrial site energy integration and optimisation.