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Strata collaborates with the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield to produce ‘green’ aviation jet fuel

Strata collaborates with the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield to produce ‘green’ aviation jet fuel

Strata Technology is delighted to announce a new collaboration with the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield to begin work on an innovative pilot plant at its new Translational Energy Research Centre.

The new plant will allow research into the production of ‘green’ aviation fuel using carbon dioxide captured from waste process streams and hydrogen produced from renewable sources. This research could pave the way to a carbon-neutral aviation industry.

The Translational Energy Research Centre is a national testing facility which aims to find practical solutions to some of our most critical energy challenges, focusing on bioenergy, renewable energy and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies.

European co-funding

Funded jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the new Translational Energy Research Centre builds on the success of the existing Pilot Advanced-Scale Capture Technology (PACT) facilities, expanding experimental research facilities for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), offering increased facilities to research areas with significant growth potential, and enhancing collaboration space for industrial partners, including both global businesses and regional SMEs.

Strata successfully tendered for the project to design, build, install and commission the Fischer-Tropsch based plant to produce 1-1.5 litres per hour of hydrocarbons in the range required for aviation jet fuel from captured carbon dioxide and green hydrogen.

The Fischer-Tropsch process, originally developed by Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch in the early 1920s, is a gas to liquid (GTL) polymerisation technique that converts a carbon source into hydrocarbons chains through the hydrogenation of carbon monoxide via a metal catalyst.

Involving engineering staff across Projects, Process, Mechanical and Electrical and supported by an in-house team of mechanical fitters, electricians and instrumentation and control specialists, the project will be led internally by newly appointed Project Leader Jim Edwards and supported by Process Engineer Natalie Robertson.

Project Kick Off

The project kicked off officially on 26th March 2020, just a few days after the UK-wide lockdown was announced by the Government to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the construction of the Translational Energy Research Centre has experienced delays, but the project continues with research and procurement of key equipment progressing at the University. The design phase is underway at Strata along with work being carried out on initial mass balance and sizing of major unit operations. P&ID (piping and instrumentation diagram) work is due to start in May.

Project Manager for the Translational Energy Research Centre, Matthew Jee, said of the collaboration:

We are really pleased to be working with Strata Technology on the engineering of the Fischer-Tropsch rig. Our specific requirements for this unique and impressive pilot-scale piece of equipment means we look forward to working with an expert team that can deliver on all of the details.”

Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Managing Director for the Translational Energy Research Centre said:

This Fischer-Tropsch rig reactor is set to be the first of its kind in Europe using captured CO2 and green hydrogen, with world-class capabilities on a large scale, and as such it is the flagship piece of equipment for the new facility. By researching sustainable aviation fuel production, we can support the decarbonisation of the aviation industry and develop technology which will help to reach net-zero emission targets in the UK and beyond.”

Speaking about the project, Strata’s Managing Director, Dr Roger Kimber said:

We are excited to be working with the University of Sheffield once again and on such a prestigious and ground-breaking project. This project builds on our success in delivering Carbon Capture pilot plants to the University of Nottingham and Imperial College London and a Water Treatment pilot plant for Cranfield University, highlighting our capabilities to support research and development into green energy and low to net-zero emission target projects.”

With regards to the current coronavirus pandemic, Dr Roger Kimber also said: “The current social and economic conditions have presented additional challenges we had not planned for, but our team of engineers have quickly adapted to remote working and are using online video conferencing to collaborate both internally and in regular review meetings with the team based at the university, which is proving to be very effective”.

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

Find out more about The University of Sheffield’s Translational Energy Research Centre here.

European Regional Development Fund

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