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‘Green’ aviation jet fuel project on schedule

‘Green’ aviation jet fuel project on schedule

You may remember in May, we announced a new collaboration with the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield on an innovative pilot plant at its Translational Energy Research Centre which will support research, innovation and mission-oriented developments that aim to reduce carbon emissions and provide insights into many types of sustainable energy generation, storage and use.

Despite a global pandemic, the Strata team has been working throughout and at the time of writing we are at week 21 of the 64-week programme and we are right on schedule.

In mid-July, we completed the Preliminary Design Review with the University of Sheffield, where we presented the Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) for the complete pilot plant design and published our report outlining the actions requiring completion before the Final Design Review is undertaken.

American catalyst technology

The date for the Final Design Review has been set for late September 2020 on-site at the University of Sheffield. Once this review has been completed, we can start the next project phase, namely procurement and assembly. To this end, Process Team Lead, Natalie Robertson has been liaising with our US partners Oxeon Energy to secure the latest in catalyst technology for the pilot plant.

The plant itself contains two major processes; the Reverse Water Gas Shift (RWGS) and the Fischer Tropsch (FT) process. To accommodate each process, Strata has designed a unique reactor to make the most efficient use of the different catalysts used. The catalyst for the RWGS, which works in the 400-450oC range, has been developed by Oxeon in conjunction with American academics and the US Government.

For the FT reactor there has been a few mechanical and process challenges to overcome but the in-house team of Paul Fisher, Trevor Hesketh and Joseph Okelue have come up with a design that aims to meet all the requirements. The design will be finalised by the end of August so the manufacturing process can begin.


Throughout the project programme the Strata team have been working closely with the University of Sheffield team, lead by Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, holding a bi-weekly video conference with Project Leaders Matt Jee and Stavros Michailos and their team to discuss any issues and potential technical risks.

Recently (w/c 10th August 2020), we have issued our proposals for the plant layout within the new Translational Energy Research Centre facility. The plant will be housed in two modified shipping containers stacked on top of one another, with stairways at each end for access. A third container will house the plant control room and the distillation column and mass spectrometer analyser assemblies.

To ensure safe plant operation, Strata has incorporated automatic shutdown systems should any operating parameters be exceeded. A full safety review of the pilot plant will be undertaken as part of the final design sign off.

We’ll continue to post updates and photos as work progresses, so watch this space or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest news.

The Translational Energy Research Centre is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Find out more about The University of Sheffield’s Translational Energy Research Centre here.

Read more about this project here.

If you have a project we can help you with, drop us an email or contact us here.

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