Adaptive processing of natural feedstocks

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Inst of Particle Science & Engineering

Abstract

Natural factories / plants / are capable of synthesising very complex functional molecules, which are then often mimicked for their function (as a drug, a fragrance, etc) through chemical synthesis. Such syntheses are not always feasible. In most cases the required transformations cannot be readily achieved due to the labile nature of the functional groups on the molecule of interest. Hence, using natural feedstocks as libraries of unique high-value molecules, and as factories that can be optimised to produce higher quantities of the desired molecules, is the approach that is potentially hugely rewarding, leading to creation of new markets. This route may also lead to the reduction of environmental impact of chemical technologies through avoiding the use of non-renewable feedstocks, complete utilisation of plant biomass and integrating plant feedstocks utilisation with energy and fertiliser technologies. This project will develop new adaptive processing technologies tackling main factors inducing variability in the overall process and consecutively affecting primary plant processing as well as downstream biodigestion and separation processes.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The most important outputs from this project are that we developed a method for encapsulating phase change materials particularly paraffin wax, a low value by product from processing of natural feedstock, with inorganic nanoparticles particularly silica. This led to subsequent development of a new area of research on thermal energy storage using composite phase change materials. The area has expanded significantly in recent years and with multimillion pounds of support from both industrial companies and the research council, some 20 researchers in my team are now working in the area.
Exploitation Route The route for the findings to be used was defined at the beginning of the project, namely to disseminate to industry as well as to publish through academic papers. Initially, energy companies were not a priority for the dissemination but have become a priority now.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Energy,Environment

 
Description The method developed from the work has been used in subsequent research and development for different material systems for thermal energy storage, particularly encapsulation of salts with metal oxide, and metal with another immiscible metal, which can be used for a much larger temperature range. The subsequent work on this area has led to 2 patents and multi-million pound research funds from both EPRSC and industrial companies e.g. SGRI & CRRC in recent years.
Sector Chemicals,Energy,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Abengoa Solar
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Leeds-IPSE483360 
Organisation Abengoa 
Department Abengoa Solar
Sector Private
Country Spain
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2014
 
Description EPSRC Programme Grant
Amount £5,590,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K002252/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2012 
End 09/2017
 
Description EPSRC Programme Grant
Amount £4,227,886 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P00945X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 11/2021
 
Description Energy Stoage Grand Challenge
Amount £924,591 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P003435/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2019
 
Description External collaboration grants
Amount £430,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SGRI Project No 1 
Organisation State Grid Corporation of China 
Sector Public
Country China
Start 01/2015 
End 10/2017
 
Description External collaborative research
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SGRI Project No 2 
Organisation State Grid Corporation of China 
Sector Public
Country China
Start 12/2015 
End 11/2018
 
Description External collaborative research
Amount £92,500 (GBP)
Funding ID Corex - understanding 
Organisation Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation 
Sector Public
Country China
Start 03/2012 
End 09/2014
 
Description Procter & Gamble
Amount £36,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Structured Particles 
Organisation Procter & Gamble 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 10/2010 
End 09/2013
 
Description Reduce of End Use Energy Demand
Amount £1,573,522 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P004709/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 12/2020
 
Description Studentship
Amount £36,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Structured Particles 
Organisation Procter & Gamble 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 10/2010 
End 09/2013