Strata delivers carbon capture project for University of Nottingham

Strata is delighted to announce the successful delivery of another exciting new project for the University of Nottingham, supported by the government’s UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) initiative.

The University of Nottingham is part of the government-funded Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), a cross-disciplinary and multi-partner energy research hub in the Midlands. University of Nottingham’s main area of research for carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS), is in the capture of carbon before it’s released into the atmosphere. This includes using new, high-capacity adsorbents which capture CO2 either pre or post-combustion.

Nottingham University Carbon Capture Project

The project brief was for the design and supply of circulating and bubbling fluidised-bed systems (CFB and BFB) for testing new adsorbents for CO2 capture on a 5-20 kg scale using simulated and actual flue gases.

Having executed numerous projects for the University of Nottingham in the past, Strata was delighted to be invited to tender for this new project and, having been successful, officially began work on 27th April 2018.

Strata was to design, manufacture and assemble the plant on-site, including commissioning of the equipment and training University of Nottingham staff on its use by 7th December 2018 – only 9 months from receipt of the order!

Involving Strata staff across projects, process, procurement, workshop, quality and Health & Safety, the successful delivery of this project required communication and teamwork across all departments and disciplines.

Nottingham University Carbon Capture Project

Overcoming challenges

One of the biggest challenges the team faced was aligning the client’s design expectations with our intended scope of supply, taking into account our relatively limited knowledge of the process. By regularly communicating with the client to review progress and status, we were able to incorporate some design changes along the way. Discussions around design, safety and any issues arising meant the client was fully involved throughout the project timeline.

The team were also using off-the-shelf equipment such as compressors, rotary valves and expansion joints to try to deliver against bespoke applications. Our solution was to have these items modified at the machinists, essentially customising stock products.

Another challenging aspect was the distance from the workshop to site and the length of onsite time required to complete the assembly/installation, fulfil the welding requirements and the lifting operations. Staff were timetabled to maintain a healthy work/life balance, we sourced welders with the required codings to attend site on a day rate and put a manual lifting plan in place to negate the cost of hire and training using heavy lifting equipment.

To accommodate some third-party delivery delays, we built time into the project plans to enable final delivery on schedule.

Speaking about the project, Professor Colin E. Snape, Director of EPSRC Centre of Doctoral Training in CCS and Cleaner Fossil Energy from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham said:

“We have worked with Strata for a number of years and therefore had confidence and trust in their ability to build and delivery this rig. The solids looping adsorption rig is essential for taking forward our findings on developing new adsorbents for CO2 capture on their pathway to commercialisation. The rig gives us the flexibility and capability to test a number of formulations or our adsorbents on a scale up to 20 kg which is essential for planning the next stage in their development of moving to demonstration plants.”

Nottingham University Carbon Capture Project

What lies ahead

Building our knowledge to enable better work relationships and ways of working from each project is one of the things that sets us apart from our competition, and this project has helped to define our future ways of working in several key areas:

  • Ensure a clear understanding of all requirements and all aspects of the scope of work are fully defined and agreed from the outset
  • Understand how any working outside of Strata’s workshop will impact project cost and duration
  • Fully investigate the integration of off-the-shelf kit into the plant before committing to the equipment
  • Ensure realistic timeframes are adopted

Read the UKRI project overview for Step Change Adsorbents and Processes for CO2 Capture here.

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