A UK energy and environmental consultancy is preparing to help China’s shift to greener technologies and is set for growth after agreeing a partnership with a major Chinese organisation.
Stopford Energy and Environment has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese company CN Homeland to develop a multi-million pound pilot ‘Plasma Gasification Plant’ to convert mixed waste to energy.
The agreement is one of the first partnerships between UK and Chinese companies as part of the innovative Lancaster China Catalyst Programme – which is bringing together UK and Chinese businesses on research and development projects to create new services and products for global markets.
Dr Ben Herbert, Director of Research and Environment at Stopford Energy and Environment, said: “Sustainable waste management is a big problem in China. While incineration technology is still the favoured thermal process for the destruction of waste, there is an ever increasing public resistance to the development of new schemes due to the perceived health risks associated with stack emissions from such facilities.
“Plasma Gasification schemes therefore serve as a sustainable alternative to incineration, in that materials of value are recovered from the waste before thermal treatment and, given the high operational temperatures of such plant, the emissions of toxic dioxin and furan species to the atmosphere are significantly reduced.
“This project is a significant opportunity to take our knowledge and experience from the sector to deliver bespoke solutions to Chinese markets.”
Stopford, which has offices in Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, Chester University and on campus at Lancaster University, will be acting as consulting engineers for the development of the scheme. CN Homeland will oversee the local design and construction of the facility– they also have the local contacts with the waste operators and energy distributors.
The project will also see a team of Lancaster University graduate researchers play an integral role in researching waste availability in China to fuel the plant. This research will inform the technical and commercial development case for the pilot facility as well as future commercial facilities. The research will also count towards the graduate researchers’ studies in their Masters’ degree in International Innovation.
Stopford say the project will also create between three and five new jobs for the consultancy and their part in the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme has accelerated their ability to move into the Chinese market.
“We see this project as massively important for our business,” said Dr Herbert. “It is providing significant growth potential for the organisation.
“China has also been a strategic area for growth for Stopford and the programme has certainly provided a platform to fast-track activity.
“The support we have received from Lancaster University through the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme has been first class. I genuinely have a lot of respect for the project delivery team and the programme, it has been excellent.
“The businesses to business meetings from the first market visit were very productive and have enabled us to shortlist a number of companies to work with”
Nick Burd, Director of the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme, said: “This agreement is a significant step towards a formal partnership between these two organisations. This project has significant potential to help develop environmental technologies, reduce pollution, enable greater recycling rates and help to grow both the UK and the Chinese organisations by creating new jobs.
“In addition, the programme will significantly boost the skills and employability of the graduate researchers working on the project.”
The Lancaster China Catalyst Programme has been specifically created to enable UK companies to exploit the university’s global links – building on Lancaster University’s role as an economic anchor institution.
Participating UK companies are provided with dedicated support worth more than £70k to plan and develop a collaborative R&D and commercialisation project with a Chinese partner.
The project has been made possible by the award of more than £4m in funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Lancashire County Council.
It aims to revitalise the UK's position in global export markets, create 240 jobs, help up to 400 UK businesses and boost the economy by £40m.
More information about the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme can be found by visiting http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/china-catalyst/
More details about Stopford Energy and Environment can be found by visiting http://www.stopford.co.uk/