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Strata completes Phase 1 of BEIS Direct Air Capture innovation competition

Strata completes Phase 1 of BEIS Direct Air Capture innovation competition

In 2021, Sizewell C’s consortium with Strata Technology, University of Nottingham, Atkins and Doosan Babcock began developing a heat-driven DAC technology for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that could be scaled up and integrated with the Sizewell C power plant as part of the BEIS Direct Air Capture (DAC) and Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) innovation competition.

Direct Carbon Capture (DAC)

Phase 1 is complete and our summary report outlines the key findings and outcomes from the initial phase of the competition. The report focuses on research and development, technology and plant design, with the majority of the work undertaken by Strata’s team of process and mechanical engineers.

Phase 2 of the competition takes forward the most promising designs from Phase 1, and we look forward to progressing the project later in the year as we work towards supporting the UK in achieving the Government’s net-zero ambitions.

Download the Phase 1 Report >>

Check the status of the entire Direct Air Capture and other Greenhouse Gas Removal technologies competition on Gov.uk >>

Supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions

Supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions

As a business, Strata has been at the forefront of engineering expertise since its inception in 1998, working alongside commercial partners and academic institutions to design, manufacture, commission, inspect and maintain bespoke equipment across a wide range of sectors.

With increasing attention focused on reducing, recycling and discovering new ways to reduce our global carbon emissions, Strata has expanded its engineering expertise into the field of nuclear and emerging green technologies.

Net zero CO2

Carbon capture

Recent projects have included working alongside the University of Nottingham to deliver a challenging carbon capture pilot plant, supported by the government’s UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) initiative and an IChemE award-winning carbon capture pilot plant for Imperial College London.

In our latest project, we’re part of a UK-led consortium to accelerate the development of carbon capture systems, in this case Direct Air Capture (DAC), which involves removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it permanently where it cannot contribute further to climate change. Strata’s carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) expertise and process development experience will be put to good use as part of this project led by Sizewell C and funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Award. Where Strata’s design differs from existing DAC technology is in its increased efficiency with less reliance on electricity.

Cutting waste

Strata is a qualified Fit 4 Nuclear business, ready to support the UK’s nuclear new build and decommissioning programmes, and has worked with several commercial clients to reduce their impact on the environment through innovative waste reduction and recovery processes, including waste water recycling.

Our new website launched in December 2021 and repositions the business as engineering and technical specialists with broad skills which can be applied to meet the needs of new green technologies, including carbon capture, direct air capture and waste reduction to support the UK achieving the Government’s net zero ambitions.

If you have any feedback or comments on the website or have a project we can help you with, please contact us here.

Consortium awarded Government Direct Air Capture funding

Consortium awarded Government Direct Air Capture funding

On 24th May 2021, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published its list of approved projects selected for Phase 1 of the Direct air capture and greenhouse gas removal programme, which included plans by a UK-led consortium to develop Direct Air Capture (DAC) powered by the new Sizewell C nuclear power station.

Proposals for the pilot project were submitted as part of the Government’s Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) competition. Aimed at accelerating the development of carbon capture systems, GGR is crucial for helping the UK achieve net-zero emissions by offsetting the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) produced by industries that are difficult to decarbonise, such as agriculture and aviation.

Click to see animation 

Direct Air Capture

Direct Air Capture involves removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which is then stored permanently so that it cannot contribute to climate change. Some CO2 can also be ‘recycled’ for other purposes such as conversion into synthetic fuels.

The unique heat-powered DAC design will offer increased efficiency and less reliance on electricity compared to existing DAC technologies. A future scaled-up implementation could contribute substantially towards the decarbonisation of difficult to decarbonise sectors and help the UK achieve its net-zero ambitions.

Speaking about Strata’s involvement, Dr Roger Kimber said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Sizewell C, the University of Nottingham, Atkins and Doosan Babcock on this DAC project, bringing our extensive carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) knowledge and process development experience to the consortium.”

Read the full Sizewell C press statement here.

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

Carbon capture takes centre stage at Science Museum’s new exhibit

Carbon capture takes centre stage at Science Museum’s new exhibit

As the UK begins the second phase of reopening under the Government’s roadmap, the Science Museum opens its latest exhibition exploring technological and nature-based solutions being developed to capture carbon.

Sponsored by Shell and UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), Our Future Planet showcases technology with the potential to trap carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the air, and to prevent carbon dioxide from ever entering the atmosphere.

London Science Museum

The exhibit showcases a wide range of prototypes that will capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere but, when cars add 50 billion tonnes of CO2 annually to the atmosphere, it’s clear a two-pronged approach is needed; both cutting greenhouse gases and removing carbon from the air on a large scale. Speaking in The Guardian, Professor Stuart Haszeldine, of Edinburgh University said, “Crucially we need carbon capture and carbon recapture if we are going to mitigate the worst impacts of global warming while at the same time being more efficient in our use of carbon.”

Circular carbon economy

As part of CarbonXPrize in 2018, Aberdeen University developed carbon capture technology that could be fitted to industrial flues to prevent carbon from escaping into the air. But once captured, what can be done with the carbon dioxide? Currently, carbon capture and storage offer one way forward, where carbon is stored underground as a permanent solution.

But as CarbonXPrize has demonstrated, “Our finalists represent an incredible diversity of approaches to turn waste (CO2emissions) into a wide variety of valuable products, such as enhanced concrete, liquid fuels, plastics and carbon fibre. These innovators are ushering in the circular carbon economy by turning carbon from a liability into an asset.”

And it’s this circular carbon economy that the Science Museum’s Our Future Planet will display alongside cutting-edge technologies; vodka, toothpaste, pens and yoga mats all made from captured carbon.

Low carbon industrial sector

In March, UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) awarded £171 million of funding to help move the UK towards the development of low-carbon technologies to increase the competitiveness of industry and contribute to the UK’s drive for net zero by 2050, focusing on reducing the carbon footprint of heavy and energy-intensive industries.

“Ahead of COP26, the UK is showing the world how we can cut emissions, create jobs and unleash private investment and economic growth. Today’s strategy builds on this winning formula as we transition low carbon and renewable energy sources, while supporting the competitiveness of Britain’s industrial base,” said Kwasi Kwarteng, Business and Energy Secretary.

Carbon capture credentials

Our collaboration with the University of Sheffield could pave the way to a carbon-neutral aviation industry by producing ‘green’ fuel using carbon dioxide captured from waste process streams and hydrogen produced from renewable sources.

Once complete, our innovative pilot plant at the Energy Institute at the University of Sheffield’s new Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC) national testing facility 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.

We have also worked with the University of Nottingham to deliver a carbon capture pilot plant to test formulations of adsorbents for CO2 capture, and with Imperial College London where our state-of-the-art carbon capture pilot plant was included in the Daily Telegraph’s Ten Groundbreaking University Research Projects, as well as being recognised in the IChemE Global Awards 2017.

“The Science Museum’s newest exhibition is an opportunity to draw attention to the challenges we face in tackling climate change and, we hope, will inspire this generation and the next to make changes to minimise or mitigate greenhouse gases, come up with their own ‘crazy ideas’ to capture or recapture CO2 and join the scientific, technology and engineering communities in developing new and innovative ways to tackle carbon reduction and climate change,” concluded Strata’s Managing Director, Dr Roger Kimber.

Our Future Planet opens on 19 May 2021 and runs until 2022. Book your free Science Museum admission tickets here.

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

‘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.

Teamwork

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.

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

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

Strata’s Dr Roger Kimber appears in Leaders Council podcast alongside Sir Geoff Hurst

Strata’s Dr Roger Kimber appears in Leaders Council podcast alongside Sir Geoff Hurst

The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is currently in the process of talking to leading figures from across the nation in an attempt to understand this universal trait and what it means in Britain and Northern Ireland today.

Strata’s Managing Director, Dr Roger Kimber was invited onto an episode of the podcast, which also included an interview with Sir Geoff Hurst. Host Jonathan White asked both guests a series of questions about leadership and the role it has played in their careers to date.

Jonathan White commented:

Hosting a show like this, where you speak to genuine leaders who have been there and done it, either on a national stage or within a crucial industry sector, is an absolute honour.”

Lord Blunkett, former Home Secretary and now Chairman of The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland said:

I think the most informative element of each episode is the first part, where Jonathan White sits down with someone who really gets how their industry works and knows how to make their organisation tick. Someone who’s there, day-in-day-out working hard and inspiring others. That’s what leadership is all about.”

Speaking about being asked to take part in the podcast, Roger Kimber added:

I was delighted to take part in my first ever podcast with the Leaders Council regarding the role of leadership in business, and even better to be alongside the legend that is Sir Geoff Hurst!”

You can listen to the podcast in full here: https://youtu.be/tPAJccEpm6A

Find out more about membership of The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland here.

A successful transition to ISO 45001

A successful transition to ISO 45001

As defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), ISO 45001 is the new international  standard for health and safety at work developed by national and international standards committees, completely independent of government.

The main differences between the two standards of OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 are set out here, or to find out more visit the ISO.org website.

ISO 45001 represents a significant shift in thinking, where health and safety management becomes part of running a sound business, rather than a separate, standalone element.

Introduced in March 2018, businesses accredited to OHSAS 18001 have until 12th March 2021 to make the transition to ISO 45001:2018, the new accredited occupational health and safety management standard.

Here at Strata Technology, we’re delighted to announce that we have already achieved ISO 45001 for Health and Safety and our new certificate can be viewed here.

Commenting on Strata’s achievement, Managing Director, Dr Roger Kimber said:

Successful transition to ISO 45001 certification reaffirms Strata is a safe place to operate for our staff and wider stakeholders.

“We remain committed to protecting our staff and reducing our impact on the environment and urge other businesses to work toward their ISO certification. If your business needs to transition from OHSAS 18001, we’d be very happy to talk you through our journey.”

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