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Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimisation

Projects and Impact

Land, Sea and Port Integration of a Smart Hydrogen Highway

The Smart Hydrogen Highway is a ground-breaking development project looking at establishing a national hydrogen highway network, integrating land, sea and port. 

This is a Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) initiative supported by the Department for Transport (DfT) which will last for two years and benefit from £1.3 million towards the £2.1 million total cost. The project consortium is led by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and is comprised of academic and business partners from OS Energy, University of Strathclyde, University of Kent, HSE, ORE Catapult, University of Birmingham and Newcastle Marine Services, supported by a number of other ports, operators and trade associations.  

The six project work packages cover energy diversity research, trialling hydrogen power generation for vessels based at the PLA’s Denton Wharf, establishing the business case for back hauling hydrogen into central London, ship design and health & safety requirements. Dr Ramin Raeesi, the Kent University PI, will lead the work package on the “Business case and the economic model”. 

MarRI-UK launched its initial call for project proposals in November 2020. The Hydrogen Highway project was the sole one selected for funding, from 19 submissions. The funding package is looking to support development of technological innovation that integrates the land and maritime needs that enable the use of cleaner, alternative fuels. 

The PLA’s sustainability commitments include a 2040 target for achieving Net Zero, development of the first evidence-based Air Quality Strategy for a UK port and development with operators, of an emissions reduction roadmap for inland waterway vessels.

In media:

PLA led consortium wins funding for Hydrogen Highway project
Marri UK announces 1-3m grant to develop national hydrogen network

Dover Clean Ferry Power (DCFP)

Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimisation (CLHO) at Kent Business School is leading the Dover Clean Ferry Power (DCFP) project with the Port of Dover, P&O Ferries, WMG at the University of Warwick and Schneider Electric to investigate steps towards decarbonisation of the cross-Channel ferry fleet. This is part of the national priority of achieving net-zero by 2050. 

The seven-month DCFP project will be utilising the University’s expertise in sustainability, cost-analysis, optimisation and economic development to investigate decarbonisation options and optimising energy demands to see how net-zero energy can be supplied to ferry vessels. 

The project, which is part of a £20 million programme funded by the Department for Transport, will support the delivery of the Port of Dover Air Quality Action Plan. 

Currently, Port of Dover vessels spend energy through in-harbour activity, open sailing and on-vessel services (such as heating, lighting and hospitality). Some vessels are hybrid; self-charging on-board batteries whilst in open sailing and then using the battery charge whilst in-harbour. 

The project will analyse how much net-zero energy can be stored and delivered in-harbour, to accelerate the adoption of hybrid or fully electric propulsion vessels in the Short Straits (Dover to Calais and Dunkirk) ferry fleet. Insights gained may then have the potential to extend to cruise and cargo operators, as well as adaptation of experienced vessels. 

Dr Ramin Raeesi, the interim director of the Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimisation (CLHO) at Kent Business School is the Principal Investigator of the project. 

In media:

KBS Leads project to investigate net-zero options for channel ferry fleet
Kent leads on new project to investigate net-zero options for channel ferry fleet
New project to investigate net-zero options for channel ferry fleet

Techno-economic feasibility study of hydrogen-fuelled freight transport

This research project adopts a multidisciplinary approach towards building a technoeconomic model for understanding the economics of hydrogen utilisation for land-based freight transport in Great Britain. 

The study will explore the Hydrogen Fuel Supply Chain (HFSC) and its linkage to the hydrogen demand side (i.e., hydrogen end-users in land-based freight) and builds a prototype HFSC model that can be used for the assessment of different pathway and technology-driven scenarios over short, medium and long-term horizons.  

Dr Ramin Raeesi, the interim director of the Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimisation (CLHO) at Kent Business School is the Principle Investigator of the project and has been awarded The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Network-H2 Flexible Fund grant of £50,000 to collaborate with research investigators from Cranfield University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Exeter and the University of Durham to undertake the research project.

In media:

Net-Zero Research Network
KBS Academic leads research on the techno economic feasibility of hydrogen fulled freight transport

Formulation and Solution Techniques for Integrated Charging Network Design under Risk of Disruption (FAST-ICNET)

This project will develop a proof-of-concept planning model for central planners to optimally locate electric vehicles (EVs) charging infrastructure under the risk of disruption to charging points (i.e. unexpected failure, technical faults or breakdowns). The aim of the model will be to maximise total expected traffic volume of EVs that can be charged by an unreliable integrated charging network, via both both static and dynamic systems.  

A robust mixed-integer non-linear programming (MINLP) model for this problem will be formulated. Queuing theory equations will be incorporated into the model to account for the stochastic nature of demand both spatially and over time (e.g. peak versus off-peak periods). The model will be further generalised to a multi-period planning problem given limited periodic budgets. The model will be linearised so that it can be solved using a general-purpose solver. Finally, an efficient metaheuristic algorithm will be developed to solve the large-scale real-world instances within a reasonable computational time. 

A case study of the road network in the UK will be used to assess the accuracy and performance of the linearised optimisation model and the metaheuristic algorithm. Other outputs will be the creation of test datasets and journal articles. Codes of the model and algorithm, and test datasets will also be made available to the community of Operational Research so that other researchers and practitioners (e.g., National Grid) can use them in their own case studies. 

Professor Jesse O’Hanley, the Head of the Department of Analytics, Operations & Systems at KBS and a member of the Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimisation (CLHO) at Kent business school is the project CO-I.

Improving Community Resilience and Sustainability Through Operational Research Capacity Building in Southeast Asia (CREST-OR)

CREST-OR is supported by the British Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), to build capacity for research among Operational Research (OR) academics and practitioners in Southeast Asia. 

OR is the discipline of applying advanced quantitative and analytical methods to enhance organisational performance through more effective planning and operational decision-making. The discipline originated in the UK during World War II and has since developed into a core field of expertise for business planning. In advanced economies OR is applied to optimise the efficiency of manufacturing and production, ground, rail, air and sea transport, food supply chains, and healthcare systems, among others.  

Industries and organisations which utilise OR techniques gain a competitive advantage over those that do not. OR has also been identified as a valuable tool for supporting sustainable international development, but thus far has received insufficient attention or investment apart from possibly in the field of public health. The transfer of OR knowledge and skills to Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam has been minimal and unsystematic. 

The primary beneficiaries of CREST-OR are academic institutions in these five Southeast Asian countries who develop new knowledge and skills to use OR.  The project’s three key academic institutions in the UK – the Universities of Kent, Lancaster and Southampton – also benefit from the project by increasing their understanding of how OR techniques can be developed for application to emerging challenges in new contexts across the world. The project builds capacity in the use of OR for solving challenges in four focal areas: disaster management, food security, resilient transport infrastructure and smart cities. These areas were identified based on existing collaborations between the participating institutions, and on the development priorities of the five Southeast Asian nations. 

The long-term vision for CREST-OR is to develop a vibrant, independent, and resilient OR community in Southeast Asia, which also extends to neighbouring countries not currently included in the CREST-OR project. 

Professor Maria Paola Scaparra from the Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimisation (CLHO) is the Principle Investigator of the project. 

Re-Evaluating the Transition to the Circular Economy: Models, Methods and Applications (ReTraCE)

This EU Horizon 2020 project brings together an exceptionally strong team of world-leading experts from a wide set of beneficiaries and partners in order to achieve breakthroughs in understanding how the transition towards a Circular Economy (CE) can be realised in a successful way in the European context, both within existing organisations and industries as well as through innovative and sustainable business models.  

The proposed approach is inherently multi-disciplinary, drawing upon research that will advance significantly the state-of-the-art in terms of the current understanding of the applicability of the CE paradigm from Economic, Environmental and Social points of view, providing policy insights and implications for practice.  

The consortium of 10 beneficiaries (including 7 academic and 3 non-academic groups) will design and deliver world class multidisciplinary training to 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), offering them an extended and valuable program of international exchanges and secondments through the wide network of partner organisations involved in the proposal.  

The network builds on the success of previous projects in which beneficiaries have successfully delivered high impact research and knowledge exchange.  

ReTraCE is specifically designed to train a cohort of new thought leaders capable of driving the transition towards a more sustainable mode of production and consumption in Europe. These thought leaders will directly facilitate the implementation of the Circular Economy strategy of the European Commission, which is closely linked to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Indeed, it is envisaged that ESRs will be employable not only by research institutions, but also by public sector bodies and within a wide range of manufacturing and service industries which will require new professional profiles for realising the transition towards the CE. 

Dr Virginia Spiegler from the Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimisation (CLHO) is the CO-Investigator of the project.