Management team in place, centre set to open in spring 2012.
Orders worth £2.5 million have been placed for the hi-tech industrial equipment which will form the cornerstone of the new research centre being developed in Middlesbrough.
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Tata Steel have begun work to establish the national research facility after signing a Memorandum of Understanding last October. A recently appointed management team has placed orders for the specialist equipment and discussions with potential customers are well underway.
The facility will advance high-temperature technologies and cost a total of £5 million to establish. The technologists there will pioneer new ways of turning waste products into fuels and raw materials which are crucial for industries such as energy generation, construction, steel and waste management.
Orders have been placed for the pilot scale industrial plant – a gasifier and a pyrolysis unit. The equipment will be housed in an open access facility available to companies wanting to test or develop high-temperature processes and will enable testing and demonstration of technologies developed in the laboratory to prove they can work on a commercial scale. Facilities are also available to test the effectiveness of a wide range of materials in gasification and pyrolysis processes.
The high-temperature pilot facility is being built at Tata Steel’s Teesside Technology Centre, in Grangetown, Middlesbrough. It is due to open next spring and is expected to employ at least 30 people by 2020.
CPI Director of Strategy, Dr Graham Hillier, said: “This innovative collaboration between CPI and Tata Steel will provide world-leading expertise, equipment and capabilities to enable the development and commercialisation of thermal processing technology. The new centre will play a leading role in developing technologies to support the low-carbon economy of the future.
“It will help a range of industries to reduce the amount of energy and raw materials they consume, while at the same time increasing recycling rates for these businesses. This unique centre will be open to companies of all sizes on an “open access” basis and will strengthen the UK’s international competitiveness in the development of new processes for the energy, construction, materials, metals, waste management, reclamation and process industries.”
The project is receiving £2.5m from One North East through the Tees Valley Industrial Programme. Tata Steel and the CPI are investing the remaining £2.5m.
Mark Sexton, of Tata Steel’s Research, Development and Technology division, said: “This is an exciting and important new facility which should allow breakthrough technologies to be developed. It reflects our strong commitment to European research and development as well as to the Teesside region.
“We want to work with other industries and companies in the field of thermal technology processes. This new centre will provide innovation and technology support to businesses in the Tees Valley as well as helping to attract other companies to the region.”
The gasifier is a 2-metre wide furnace that can handle a wide range of feedstocks such as unusable oils and organic wastes and convert them into the valuable and low-carbon fuels of the future. The pyrolysis unit will convert waste materials and biomass in to liquid and gaseous fuels.
As well as creating the new facilities the collaboration will also allow Tata Steel’s skill base in process analysis, development and improvement to be accessed by other companies.
Dr Hillier added: “We are intent on establishing a unique leading-edge thermal processing centre on Teesside which will complement CPI’s two existing world-class technology platforms in sustainable processing and printable electronics. The centre will give companies the opportunity to benefit from CPI’s innovation skills and Tata Steel’s knowledge of high-temperature processes.”
For further information, contact:
Gareth Charlton, CPI, 01642 455340, email@example.com
Rob Simpson, Tata Steel, 01724 405769, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is a key part of the Government’s first elite technology innovation centre, focusing in the area of high value manufacturing. It offers market and technology expertise along with cutting-edge development assets to help its public and private sector clients build and prototype the next generation of products, processes and services quickly and efficiently, and with minimal risk.
CPI has designed and established national technology centres in Printable Electronics and Industrial Biotechnology. The centres are equipped with development laboratories, prototyping facilities and pilot plants that enable clients to prove and scale up processes from the laboratory stage through to commercial reality. There are commercially experienced scientists and engineers on site to offer expertise and guidance. CPI also offers a multi-disciplined team who work together on project management, investment and market opportunities to ensure each business fulfils its potential.
CPI is the only open access centre of its kind in the UK with such an extensive combination of equipment and specialist knowledge serving the process industries. CPI has designed an environment that fits the needs of companies whatever their size and demands, and consistently delivers customers’ requirements, on time and to budget.
About Tata Steel in Europe
The European operations of Tata Steel (formerly known as Corus) comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With main steelmaking operations in the UK and the Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, material handling and other demanding markets worldwide.
Tata Steel is one of the world’s top ten steel producers. The combined group has an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.
About Tata Steel Research, Development and Technology (RD&T)
Tata Steel Research Development & Technology has technology centres in Teesside and Rotherham in the UK, IJmuiden in the Netherlands and Jamshedpur in India.
The work carried out by its scientists, researchers and engineers focuses on process and product innovations, enhancing the Group’s competitiveness by improving the quality, applicability and sustainability of steels. RD&T collaborates with universities and research institutes all over the world, as well as with major customers in the automotive, transport, construction and packaging markets.