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About us

The Centre brings together multidisciplinary researchers of substantial complimentary experience and internationally leading research track record as well as key stakeholders to investigate and develop innovative approaches and technologies to effect substantial end use energy demand and environmental impact reductions in the food and other industry sectors. The Centre engages both in cutting edge research into approaches and technologies that will have significant impacts in the future, leading towards the target of zero net emissions by 2050, but also in research that can have demonstrable impacts in the shorter term. 

CSEF was established in 2013 with funding from the EPSRC (2013 to 2019) and involved, alongside Brunel University London (lead), groups from the University of Manchester and Birmingham and over 30 industry partners. Additional funding from Brunel and substantial additional funding from the Research Councils, the EU, Innovate UK and Industry, contributed to the establishment of state of the art facilities for food technologies and energy research, alongside office accommodation for academic staff and researchers. 

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Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains


Our vision is to generate understanding and the knowledge to underpin and drive innovation in technologies, processes and policies, to deliver productive, decarbonised and sustainable food chains globally. This is realised through:

1. Investigation, development, assessment and application of innovative approaches, processes and technologies for energy demand reduction in all stages of the food chain; production, distribution, retail and consumption.

2. Identification of optimal ways the food chain can utilise different energy sources and interact with the energy supply system, for example, through local combined heat and power generation and trigeneration, waste to power generation, energy storage for maximum electrical demand reduction and load shifting and integration of renewable energy technologies.

3. Improvements of resource efficiency through intensification of food processing by enhancing heat and mass transfer processes, reduction, recovery and recycling of water use, waste heat and food waste to reduce environmental impacts.

4. Contribution to the education of new scientists and engineers in the areas of food sustainability, manufacturing and energy through the development and participation in PGT and Doctoral Training Programmes.

5. Wide engagement and collaboration with industry and academic partners to accelerate the development and adoption by industry of new energy efficient technologies and practices and contribute to the Government’s Green Growth, Industrial Strategy and decarbonization targets.

6. Engagement and collaboration with partners in the UK and overseas in addressing the challenges of food waste (UNDG12), poverty alleviation and malnutrition (UNDG2) and access to energy for all (UNDG7) through the development and application of appropriate technologies and integrated systems of protected cultivation, water management and renewable energy powered cold food chains.


To carry out fundamental research into innovative technologies and approaches that will have significant impacts and contribute to the Government’s long term greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and research that will have demonstrable impacts in the short term, while taking into consideration socio-economic and behavioural aspects. 

The Team

Internationally leading groups with complementary expertise covering all post farm stages of the food chain, including 3 universities: Brunel University (lead): Prof. Savvas Tassou; University of Manchester: Prof. Adisa Azapagic; University of Birmingham: Prof. Peter Fryer; and 33 partner  organisations:

  • 7 major food and drinks manufacturers;
  • 4 major retailers;
  • 8 equipment manufacturers and service providers; 
  • 14 professional institutions,
  • KTNs,
  • and food related trade associations.