Industry 4.0 for energy productivity

Purpose of project

Industry 4.0 describes a suite of solutions including better data, improved data analytics and greater autonomy to optimise energy usage. This includes: artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), advanced metering, remote control, robotics and automation, and cloud computing. Industry 4.0 is described as “enabling informed yet autonomous decisions” for flexibility and agility (Ghobakhloo and Fathi, 2021), which also directly relates to the objectives of RACE for Business research theme B4: flexible demand and demand control technology and development. It is important to note that an emphasis on end-to-end energy productivity is critical. Focusing on individual business productivity improvements will not deliver the scale of change required to meet the target impacts (explained further below). Industry-wide strategies to stimulate adoption of key Industry 4.0 capabilities across supply chains and/or ecosystems will be essential to achieve scale. For example, very few businesses will be able to independently generate enough of the right data to build adequate algorithms for effective AI improvements. Key activities under this research theme will include:


  1. Identification and analysis of priorities for utilising Industry 4.0 technologies for energy productivity benefits.
  2. Detailed reviews of Industry 4.0 technologies, which are affordable, non-invasive, reliable, digitalised, and intelligent.
  3. Validating Industry 4.0 solutions in the field to prove accuracy, application range, and economics.
  4. Pilot high-impact project(s) with Australian businesses to harness Industry 4.0 approaches that address market opportunities e.g. IoT, advanced metering, AI, cloud computing or other emerging digitalisation technologies.

    Impact of project

    Improved measurement and analysis through IoT and AI is estimated to have potential to improve energy efficiency in the manufacturing sector alone by 15% over 10 years (CESMII, 2019). Applied to Australia, 15% of the total manufacturing energy cost of $11.5 billion p.a. (AiG, 2019) leads to an estimated benefit of $1.73 billion p.a. to Australian manufacturers. This is a conservative estimate given the additional C&I sectors RACE for 2030 research could support.

    Investment in energy productivity can also deliver multiple non-energy benefits e.g. jobs, new markets, reinvestment capital, export opportunities or more competitive pricing. The value of operational and productivity benefits can be up to 2.5 times more than that from the energy savings in manufacturing (IEA, 2014). To be conservative, RACE for 2030 has used a 1.25 factor to estimate $2.2 billion p.a. in additional non-energy benefits. [NB: some of this potential is likely to be unlocked through other digitalisation activities occurring without an energy driver.]

    Project partners – industry and research

    A2EP, IoTAA, CSIRO, AMPC, Sydney Water, Exergenics, AGL, Simble, DELWP, DPE, UTS, RMIT,

    Industry Reference Group members

    Simble, DPIE, AMPC, AGL, Sydney Water, DELWP, Exergenics, Bosch, Capgemini, Telstra, Schneider, Saphi, DISER, Proptech Association, Build Apps, SwitchedIn, Energy OS, Bluescope Steel