RELIEF: Reducing Environmental impact of the Leather-tanning Industry with Electron beam Facilities

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

Leather production is a vital contributor to the economy in many Official Development Assistance (ODA) recipient countries, such as Mexico. The Guanajuato region in central Mexico is home to approximately 350 tanneries, which have caused a substantial impact to the local environment, resulting in widespread pollution of water supplies and poisoning of the ecosystem. While regulations have been implemented to attempt to limit pollution produced by the tanning industry, these are rarely enforced and do little to improve the local environment.

The leather production process consists of many different stages, starting with the curing stage to preserve the animal skins while they are transported between the slaughterhouse and the tannery. The hides then undergo several steps, collectively known as the beamhouse operations, to prepare the hides for the tanning stage. Tanning is a process whereby chemicals are used to create crosslinking between protein chains in the processed hide (collagen). This crosslinking is caused by the tanning agent, such as Chromium(III) Sulphate, which chemically bonds to the protein chains. These crosslinks make the leather more durable and less prone to damage from mould and bacteria than the original hide. The tanning process is very similar to the process used to industrially manufacture plastic, where an electron beam is used to create crosslinking between long-chain hydrocarbons to make the material more durable.

The tanning stage is considered to be the most significant cause of pollution with the largest impact on the local environment. The unused Chromium(III) is often disposed of as wastewater, which then gets into the local ecosystem. We propose to replace the conventional tanning stage with an electron beam facility to create crosslinking in the leather with an electron beam, in the same way as electron beams are used to create crosslinking in plastics. An additional organic chemical, such as an aldehyde or acrylate, will be used to create the "bridges" between protein chains.

In this project, we will study the effect of an electron beam on a biological sample to estimate the maximum irradiation dose before the damage to the protein chains outweighs the strengthening of the leather from crosslinking. We will investigate potential reagents for the bridging between protein chains, focussing on reagents with minimal environmental impact. A study of the requirements of an electron beam facility from the perspective of the tanneries will be undertaken in Mexico and this study will also look to identify other industries that would benefit from such as device. The outcome of this study will be used to undertake an initial design study of the electron accelerating structure and the beam transport line. This will investigate options such as whether to use a stationary, wide beam or a small beam that scans across the leather.

This project is an initial study to demonstrate the feasibility of an electron beam leather tanning process and to identify the most likely design options for a final product. This will include an initial study of the impact of an electron beam on biological material, a basic study of the likely chemical process required for electron beam tanning, and the initial design study of a final product.

Planned Impact

The leather production industry is a global market worth an estimated £80 billion. Many of the largest leather producing countries are on the DAC list of ODA recipient countries, such as Mexico, Brazil, China, Argentina, India and Pakistan. In many of these countries, environmental protection and industrial emissions laws are either non-existent or rarely enforced; resulting in a detrimental impact on the local environment due to the high toxicity of wastewater produced by many of the stages in the leather production process. For this proposal, we currently focus on the region near Leon, Mexico, but the research will have potential benefit all leather producing countries. The biggest benefit will be for countries where leather production causes a severe impact on the local environment and particularly for the larger leather producing countries. For other leather producing countries, where harmful waste products are disposed of responsibly or reused, the research undertaken in this project may also be of benefit by providing a cleaner method of leather tanning; however the commercial viability for such countries will be studied during the proposed work.

During the proposed work, we will aim to determine other industries that may benefit from the technology, particularly where an electron beam can be used to replace a process to reduce the impact to the environment, such as treatment of wastewater and flue gases.

Publications

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Title Low energy beam testing for electron beam tanning 
Description Hide samples were irradiated with an electron beam at Daresbury Laboratory with a variety of different doses and conditions. The irradiated samples were frozen in liquid nitrogen after treatment and taken to Northampton to perform differential scanning calorimetry tests to determine the degree of tanning in the samples. The electron beam used was 200 keV, which would only penetrate through 10s of microns of the hides, so an indicative test was all we were aiming for. 
Type Of Material Biological samples 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact These tests were able to provide an indication that the novel tanning process works effectively. The results of the tests showed an increased degree of tanning in all samples compared to the non-irradiated control samples, with no negative results. While the tests were not conclusive due to the large errors associated to using a low energy beam, the results provided a statistically significant indicative result. 
 
Description RELIEF collaboration 
Organisation Ankara University
Country Turkey 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lancaster University has led the project and the collaboration. We are leading the studies into accelerator design, beam dynamics and beam parameters required to irradiate the hides as well as leading the beam tests. We are also actively engaging with industry in order to perform beam tests as well as licensing the IP generated by the collaboration. Lancaster is the lead institute on the patent filed on the novel tanning process.
Collaborator Contribution University of Huddersfield is leading numerical simulation studies of the interactions between the electron beam and proteinaceous material in order to investigate the feasibility of using electron beams. Huddersfield also hosted the UK based workshop for RELIEF and is maintaining the computing resources to allow us to perform simulation studies. Huddersfield were one of the inventors on the patent filed on the tanning process. The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton have provided the UK-based expertise into leather production and provided time and materials as in-kind contributions for beam tests that were performed in addition to the activities proposed in the grant. They also attended the workshop in Huddersfield and are one of the key partners in the collaboration. Their expertise in the chemical processes involved in tanning have helped with identifying key regions of the protein chains to study during simulations. Their close collaborative links with industry has also been useful for sourcing additional funding. TRIUMF/University of Victoria (Canada) have provided expertise in accelerator development. They were jointly involved in the patent filed. The Autonomous University of Chihuahua provided expertise in chemical engineering, which has helped with understanding the fundamental science of the electron based tanning process. The University of Guanajuato were the Mexican lead institute for this project and provided a student and a postdoc to work on the project on secondment at Lancaster University and the University of Huddersfield. Their connections with the local tanning industry in Leon, Mexico, has been essential to this project and helped to provide key industrial engagement. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa are a new partner on the project and are providing expertise in accelerator design and are looking at other applications of the technology and IP generated during this project. Cuero Centro (Leon, Mexico) are a tannery who are project partners. During the visit to Mexico, we had a meeting with them and were provided with leather samples, expertise in leather production and details of the industrial process. They have also allowed us future access to perform industrial scale tests, once the project develops to that stage. Steris (UK) are an accelerator manufacturer with a customer facility located close to ICLT. Steris has an electron beam machine on site at Daventry which provides the ideal beam conditions for future beam testing. They have provided information on the range of beam parameters available, which has allowed us to estimate the potential tanning rate of a commercial system to compare to conventional tanning. EBeam (UK) have provided critical advise relating to the crosslinking of polymers, which is a similar process to tanning, and we are looking to collaborate with them on a future grant proposal. ComplexBeam is a company that has approached us with the intention of collaborate on this project, like Steris, they are also able to provide suitable beam conditions for future beam testing.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary and involves the following disciplines: - accelerator design - beam dynamics - particle interactions with matter - Chemical engineering - Leather tanning / protein modification
Start Year 2018
 
Description RELIEF collaboration 
Organisation Autonomous University of Sinaloa
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lancaster University has led the project and the collaboration. We are leading the studies into accelerator design, beam dynamics and beam parameters required to irradiate the hides as well as leading the beam tests. We are also actively engaging with industry in order to perform beam tests as well as licensing the IP generated by the collaboration. Lancaster is the lead institute on the patent filed on the novel tanning process.
Collaborator Contribution University of Huddersfield is leading numerical simulation studies of the interactions between the electron beam and proteinaceous material in order to investigate the feasibility of using electron beams. Huddersfield also hosted the UK based workshop for RELIEF and is maintaining the computing resources to allow us to perform simulation studies. Huddersfield were one of the inventors on the patent filed on the tanning process. The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton have provided the UK-based expertise into leather production and provided time and materials as in-kind contributions for beam tests that were performed in addition to the activities proposed in the grant. They also attended the workshop in Huddersfield and are one of the key partners in the collaboration. Their expertise in the chemical processes involved in tanning have helped with identifying key regions of the protein chains to study during simulations. Their close collaborative links with industry has also been useful for sourcing additional funding. TRIUMF/University of Victoria (Canada) have provided expertise in accelerator development. They were jointly involved in the patent filed. The Autonomous University of Chihuahua provided expertise in chemical engineering, which has helped with understanding the fundamental science of the electron based tanning process. The University of Guanajuato were the Mexican lead institute for this project and provided a student and a postdoc to work on the project on secondment at Lancaster University and the University of Huddersfield. Their connections with the local tanning industry in Leon, Mexico, has been essential to this project and helped to provide key industrial engagement. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa are a new partner on the project and are providing expertise in accelerator design and are looking at other applications of the technology and IP generated during this project. Cuero Centro (Leon, Mexico) are a tannery who are project partners. During the visit to Mexico, we had a meeting with them and were provided with leather samples, expertise in leather production and details of the industrial process. They have also allowed us future access to perform industrial scale tests, once the project develops to that stage. Steris (UK) are an accelerator manufacturer with a customer facility located close to ICLT. Steris has an electron beam machine on site at Daventry which provides the ideal beam conditions for future beam testing. They have provided information on the range of beam parameters available, which has allowed us to estimate the potential tanning rate of a commercial system to compare to conventional tanning. EBeam (UK) have provided critical advise relating to the crosslinking of polymers, which is a similar process to tanning, and we are looking to collaborate with them on a future grant proposal. ComplexBeam is a company that has approached us with the intention of collaborate on this project, like Steris, they are also able to provide suitable beam conditions for future beam testing.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary and involves the following disciplines: - accelerator design - beam dynamics - particle interactions with matter - Chemical engineering - Leather tanning / protein modification
Start Year 2018
 
Description RELIEF collaboration 
Organisation Cuero Centro
Country Mexico 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Lancaster University has led the project and the collaboration. We are leading the studies into accelerator design, beam dynamics and beam parameters required to irradiate the hides as well as leading the beam tests. We are also actively engaging with industry in order to perform beam tests as well as licensing the IP generated by the collaboration. Lancaster is the lead institute on the patent filed on the novel tanning process.
Collaborator Contribution University of Huddersfield is leading numerical simulation studies of the interactions between the electron beam and proteinaceous material in order to investigate the feasibility of using electron beams. Huddersfield also hosted the UK based workshop for RELIEF and is maintaining the computing resources to allow us to perform simulation studies. Huddersfield were one of the inventors on the patent filed on the tanning process. The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton have provided the UK-based expertise into leather production and provided time and materials as in-kind contributions for beam tests that were performed in addition to the activities proposed in the grant. They also attended the workshop in Huddersfield and are one of the key partners in the collaboration. Their expertise in the chemical processes involved in tanning have helped with identifying key regions of the protein chains to study during simulations. Their close collaborative links with industry has also been useful for sourcing additional funding. TRIUMF/University of Victoria (Canada) have provided expertise in accelerator development. They were jointly involved in the patent filed. The Autonomous University of Chihuahua provided expertise in chemical engineering, which has helped with understanding the fundamental science of the electron based tanning process. The University of Guanajuato were the Mexican lead institute for this project and provided a student and a postdoc to work on the project on secondment at Lancaster University and the University of Huddersfield. Their connections with the local tanning industry in Leon, Mexico, has been essential to this project and helped to provide key industrial engagement. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa are a new partner on the project and are providing expertise in accelerator design and are looking at other applications of the technology and IP generated during this project. Cuero Centro (Leon, Mexico) are a tannery who are project partners. During the visit to Mexico, we had a meeting with them and were provided with leather samples, expertise in leather production and details of the industrial process. They have also allowed us future access to perform industrial scale tests, once the project develops to that stage. Steris (UK) are an accelerator manufacturer with a customer facility located close to ICLT. Steris has an electron beam machine on site at Daventry which provides the ideal beam conditions for future beam testing. They have provided information on the range of beam parameters available, which has allowed us to estimate the potential tanning rate of a commercial system to compare to conventional tanning. EBeam (UK) have provided critical advise relating to the crosslinking of polymers, which is a similar process to tanning, and we are looking to collaborate with them on a future grant proposal. ComplexBeam is a company that has approached us with the intention of collaborate on this project, like Steris, they are also able to provide suitable beam conditions for future beam testing.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary and involves the following disciplines: - accelerator design - beam dynamics - particle interactions with matter - Chemical engineering - Leather tanning / protein modification
Start Year 2018
 
Description RELIEF collaboration 
Organisation Steris Corporation
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Lancaster University has led the project and the collaboration. We are leading the studies into accelerator design, beam dynamics and beam parameters required to irradiate the hides as well as leading the beam tests. We are also actively engaging with industry in order to perform beam tests as well as licensing the IP generated by the collaboration. Lancaster is the lead institute on the patent filed on the novel tanning process.
Collaborator Contribution University of Huddersfield is leading numerical simulation studies of the interactions between the electron beam and proteinaceous material in order to investigate the feasibility of using electron beams. Huddersfield also hosted the UK based workshop for RELIEF and is maintaining the computing resources to allow us to perform simulation studies. Huddersfield were one of the inventors on the patent filed on the tanning process. The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton have provided the UK-based expertise into leather production and provided time and materials as in-kind contributions for beam tests that were performed in addition to the activities proposed in the grant. They also attended the workshop in Huddersfield and are one of the key partners in the collaboration. Their expertise in the chemical processes involved in tanning have helped with identifying key regions of the protein chains to study during simulations. Their close collaborative links with industry has also been useful for sourcing additional funding. TRIUMF/University of Victoria (Canada) have provided expertise in accelerator development. They were jointly involved in the patent filed. The Autonomous University of Chihuahua provided expertise in chemical engineering, which has helped with understanding the fundamental science of the electron based tanning process. The University of Guanajuato were the Mexican lead institute for this project and provided a student and a postdoc to work on the project on secondment at Lancaster University and the University of Huddersfield. Their connections with the local tanning industry in Leon, Mexico, has been essential to this project and helped to provide key industrial engagement. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa are a new partner on the project and are providing expertise in accelerator design and are looking at other applications of the technology and IP generated during this project. Cuero Centro (Leon, Mexico) are a tannery who are project partners. During the visit to Mexico, we had a meeting with them and were provided with leather samples, expertise in leather production and details of the industrial process. They have also allowed us future access to perform industrial scale tests, once the project develops to that stage. Steris (UK) are an accelerator manufacturer with a customer facility located close to ICLT. Steris has an electron beam machine on site at Daventry which provides the ideal beam conditions for future beam testing. They have provided information on the range of beam parameters available, which has allowed us to estimate the potential tanning rate of a commercial system to compare to conventional tanning. EBeam (UK) have provided critical advise relating to the crosslinking of polymers, which is a similar process to tanning, and we are looking to collaborate with them on a future grant proposal. ComplexBeam is a company that has approached us with the intention of collaborate on this project, like Steris, they are also able to provide suitable beam conditions for future beam testing.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary and involves the following disciplines: - accelerator design - beam dynamics - particle interactions with matter - Chemical engineering - Leather tanning / protein modification
Start Year 2018
 
Description RELIEF collaboration 
Organisation TRIUMF
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lancaster University has led the project and the collaboration. We are leading the studies into accelerator design, beam dynamics and beam parameters required to irradiate the hides as well as leading the beam tests. We are also actively engaging with industry in order to perform beam tests as well as licensing the IP generated by the collaboration. Lancaster is the lead institute on the patent filed on the novel tanning process.
Collaborator Contribution University of Huddersfield is leading numerical simulation studies of the interactions between the electron beam and proteinaceous material in order to investigate the feasibility of using electron beams. Huddersfield also hosted the UK based workshop for RELIEF and is maintaining the computing resources to allow us to perform simulation studies. Huddersfield were one of the inventors on the patent filed on the tanning process. The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton have provided the UK-based expertise into leather production and provided time and materials as in-kind contributions for beam tests that were performed in addition to the activities proposed in the grant. They also attended the workshop in Huddersfield and are one of the key partners in the collaboration. Their expertise in the chemical processes involved in tanning have helped with identifying key regions of the protein chains to study during simulations. Their close collaborative links with industry has also been useful for sourcing additional funding. TRIUMF/University of Victoria (Canada) have provided expertise in accelerator development. They were jointly involved in the patent filed. The Autonomous University of Chihuahua provided expertise in chemical engineering, which has helped with understanding the fundamental science of the electron based tanning process. The University of Guanajuato were the Mexican lead institute for this project and provided a student and a postdoc to work on the project on secondment at Lancaster University and the University of Huddersfield. Their connections with the local tanning industry in Leon, Mexico, has been essential to this project and helped to provide key industrial engagement. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa are a new partner on the project and are providing expertise in accelerator design and are looking at other applications of the technology and IP generated during this project. Cuero Centro (Leon, Mexico) are a tannery who are project partners. During the visit to Mexico, we had a meeting with them and were provided with leather samples, expertise in leather production and details of the industrial process. They have also allowed us future access to perform industrial scale tests, once the project develops to that stage. Steris (UK) are an accelerator manufacturer with a customer facility located close to ICLT. Steris has an electron beam machine on site at Daventry which provides the ideal beam conditions for future beam testing. They have provided information on the range of beam parameters available, which has allowed us to estimate the potential tanning rate of a commercial system to compare to conventional tanning. EBeam (UK) have provided critical advise relating to the crosslinking of polymers, which is a similar process to tanning, and we are looking to collaborate with them on a future grant proposal. ComplexBeam is a company that has approached us with the intention of collaborate on this project, like Steris, they are also able to provide suitable beam conditions for future beam testing.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary and involves the following disciplines: - accelerator design - beam dynamics - particle interactions with matter - Chemical engineering - Leather tanning / protein modification
Start Year 2018
 
Description RELIEF collaboration 
Organisation University of Chihuahua
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lancaster University has led the project and the collaboration. We are leading the studies into accelerator design, beam dynamics and beam parameters required to irradiate the hides as well as leading the beam tests. We are also actively engaging with industry in order to perform beam tests as well as licensing the IP generated by the collaboration. Lancaster is the lead institute on the patent filed on the novel tanning process.
Collaborator Contribution University of Huddersfield is leading numerical simulation studies of the interactions between the electron beam and proteinaceous material in order to investigate the feasibility of using electron beams. Huddersfield also hosted the UK based workshop for RELIEF and is maintaining the computing resources to allow us to perform simulation studies. Huddersfield were one of the inventors on the patent filed on the tanning process. The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton have provided the UK-based expertise into leather production and provided time and materials as in-kind contributions for beam tests that were performed in addition to the activities proposed in the grant. They also attended the workshop in Huddersfield and are one of the key partners in the collaboration. Their expertise in the chemical processes involved in tanning have helped with identifying key regions of the protein chains to study during simulations. Their close collaborative links with industry has also been useful for sourcing additional funding. TRIUMF/University of Victoria (Canada) have provided expertise in accelerator development. They were jointly involved in the patent filed. The Autonomous University of Chihuahua provided expertise in chemical engineering, which has helped with understanding the fundamental science of the electron based tanning process. The University of Guanajuato were the Mexican lead institute for this project and provided a student and a postdoc to work on the project on secondment at Lancaster University and the University of Huddersfield. Their connections with the local tanning industry in Leon, Mexico, has been essential to this project and helped to provide key industrial engagement. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa are a new partner on the project and are providing expertise in accelerator design and are looking at other applications of the technology and IP generated during this project. Cuero Centro (Leon, Mexico) are a tannery who are project partners. During the visit to Mexico, we had a meeting with them and were provided with leather samples, expertise in leather production and details of the industrial process. They have also allowed us future access to perform industrial scale tests, once the project develops to that stage. Steris (UK) are an accelerator manufacturer with a customer facility located close to ICLT. Steris has an electron beam machine on site at Daventry which provides the ideal beam conditions for future beam testing. They have provided information on the range of beam parameters available, which has allowed us to estimate the potential tanning rate of a commercial system to compare to conventional tanning. EBeam (UK) have provided critical advise relating to the crosslinking of polymers, which is a similar process to tanning, and we are looking to collaborate with them on a future grant proposal. ComplexBeam is a company that has approached us with the intention of collaborate on this project, like Steris, they are also able to provide suitable beam conditions for future beam testing.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary and involves the following disciplines: - accelerator design - beam dynamics - particle interactions with matter - Chemical engineering - Leather tanning / protein modification
Start Year 2018
 
Description RELIEF collaboration 
Organisation University of Guanajuato
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lancaster University has led the project and the collaboration. We are leading the studies into accelerator design, beam dynamics and beam parameters required to irradiate the hides as well as leading the beam tests. We are also actively engaging with industry in order to perform beam tests as well as licensing the IP generated by the collaboration. Lancaster is the lead institute on the patent filed on the novel tanning process.
Collaborator Contribution University of Huddersfield is leading numerical simulation studies of the interactions between the electron beam and proteinaceous material in order to investigate the feasibility of using electron beams. Huddersfield also hosted the UK based workshop for RELIEF and is maintaining the computing resources to allow us to perform simulation studies. Huddersfield were one of the inventors on the patent filed on the tanning process. The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton have provided the UK-based expertise into leather production and provided time and materials as in-kind contributions for beam tests that were performed in addition to the activities proposed in the grant. They also attended the workshop in Huddersfield and are one of the key partners in the collaboration. Their expertise in the chemical processes involved in tanning have helped with identifying key regions of the protein chains to study during simulations. Their close collaborative links with industry has also been useful for sourcing additional funding. TRIUMF/University of Victoria (Canada) have provided expertise in accelerator development. They were jointly involved in the patent filed. The Autonomous University of Chihuahua provided expertise in chemical engineering, which has helped with understanding the fundamental science of the electron based tanning process. The University of Guanajuato were the Mexican lead institute for this project and provided a student and a postdoc to work on the project on secondment at Lancaster University and the University of Huddersfield. Their connections with the local tanning industry in Leon, Mexico, has been essential to this project and helped to provide key industrial engagement. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa are a new partner on the project and are providing expertise in accelerator design and are looking at other applications of the technology and IP generated during this project. Cuero Centro (Leon, Mexico) are a tannery who are project partners. During the visit to Mexico, we had a meeting with them and were provided with leather samples, expertise in leather production and details of the industrial process. They have also allowed us future access to perform industrial scale tests, once the project develops to that stage. Steris (UK) are an accelerator manufacturer with a customer facility located close to ICLT. Steris has an electron beam machine on site at Daventry which provides the ideal beam conditions for future beam testing. They have provided information on the range of beam parameters available, which has allowed us to estimate the potential tanning rate of a commercial system to compare to conventional tanning. EBeam (UK) have provided critical advise relating to the crosslinking of polymers, which is a similar process to tanning, and we are looking to collaborate with them on a future grant proposal. ComplexBeam is a company that has approached us with the intention of collaborate on this project, like Steris, they are also able to provide suitable beam conditions for future beam testing.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary and involves the following disciplines: - accelerator design - beam dynamics - particle interactions with matter - Chemical engineering - Leather tanning / protein modification
Start Year 2018
 
Description RELIEF collaboration 
Organisation University of Huddersfield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lancaster University has led the project and the collaboration. We are leading the studies into accelerator design, beam dynamics and beam parameters required to irradiate the hides as well as leading the beam tests. We are also actively engaging with industry in order to perform beam tests as well as licensing the IP generated by the collaboration. Lancaster is the lead institute on the patent filed on the novel tanning process.
Collaborator Contribution University of Huddersfield is leading numerical simulation studies of the interactions between the electron beam and proteinaceous material in order to investigate the feasibility of using electron beams. Huddersfield also hosted the UK based workshop for RELIEF and is maintaining the computing resources to allow us to perform simulation studies. Huddersfield were one of the inventors on the patent filed on the tanning process. The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton have provided the UK-based expertise into leather production and provided time and materials as in-kind contributions for beam tests that were performed in addition to the activities proposed in the grant. They also attended the workshop in Huddersfield and are one of the key partners in the collaboration. Their expertise in the chemical processes involved in tanning have helped with identifying key regions of the protein chains to study during simulations. Their close collaborative links with industry has also been useful for sourcing additional funding. TRIUMF/University of Victoria (Canada) have provided expertise in accelerator development. They were jointly involved in the patent filed. The Autonomous University of Chihuahua provided expertise in chemical engineering, which has helped with understanding the fundamental science of the electron based tanning process. The University of Guanajuato were the Mexican lead institute for this project and provided a student and a postdoc to work on the project on secondment at Lancaster University and the University of Huddersfield. Their connections with the local tanning industry in Leon, Mexico, has been essential to this project and helped to provide key industrial engagement. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa are a new partner on the project and are providing expertise in accelerator design and are looking at other applications of the technology and IP generated during this project. Cuero Centro (Leon, Mexico) are a tannery who are project partners. During the visit to Mexico, we had a meeting with them and were provided with leather samples, expertise in leather production and details of the industrial process. They have also allowed us future access to perform industrial scale tests, once the project develops to that stage. Steris (UK) are an accelerator manufacturer with a customer facility located close to ICLT. Steris has an electron beam machine on site at Daventry which provides the ideal beam conditions for future beam testing. They have provided information on the range of beam parameters available, which has allowed us to estimate the potential tanning rate of a commercial system to compare to conventional tanning. EBeam (UK) have provided critical advise relating to the crosslinking of polymers, which is a similar process to tanning, and we are looking to collaborate with them on a future grant proposal. ComplexBeam is a company that has approached us with the intention of collaborate on this project, like Steris, they are also able to provide suitable beam conditions for future beam testing.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary and involves the following disciplines: - accelerator design - beam dynamics - particle interactions with matter - Chemical engineering - Leather tanning / protein modification
Start Year 2018
 
Description RELIEF collaboration 
Organisation University of Northampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lancaster University has led the project and the collaboration. We are leading the studies into accelerator design, beam dynamics and beam parameters required to irradiate the hides as well as leading the beam tests. We are also actively engaging with industry in order to perform beam tests as well as licensing the IP generated by the collaboration. Lancaster is the lead institute on the patent filed on the novel tanning process.
Collaborator Contribution University of Huddersfield is leading numerical simulation studies of the interactions between the electron beam and proteinaceous material in order to investigate the feasibility of using electron beams. Huddersfield also hosted the UK based workshop for RELIEF and is maintaining the computing resources to allow us to perform simulation studies. Huddersfield were one of the inventors on the patent filed on the tanning process. The Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton have provided the UK-based expertise into leather production and provided time and materials as in-kind contributions for beam tests that were performed in addition to the activities proposed in the grant. They also attended the workshop in Huddersfield and are one of the key partners in the collaboration. Their expertise in the chemical processes involved in tanning have helped with identifying key regions of the protein chains to study during simulations. Their close collaborative links with industry has also been useful for sourcing additional funding. TRIUMF/University of Victoria (Canada) have provided expertise in accelerator development. They were jointly involved in the patent filed. The Autonomous University of Chihuahua provided expertise in chemical engineering, which has helped with understanding the fundamental science of the electron based tanning process. The University of Guanajuato were the Mexican lead institute for this project and provided a student and a postdoc to work on the project on secondment at Lancaster University and the University of Huddersfield. Their connections with the local tanning industry in Leon, Mexico, has been essential to this project and helped to provide key industrial engagement. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa are a new partner on the project and are providing expertise in accelerator design and are looking at other applications of the technology and IP generated during this project. Cuero Centro (Leon, Mexico) are a tannery who are project partners. During the visit to Mexico, we had a meeting with them and were provided with leather samples, expertise in leather production and details of the industrial process. They have also allowed us future access to perform industrial scale tests, once the project develops to that stage. Steris (UK) are an accelerator manufacturer with a customer facility located close to ICLT. Steris has an electron beam machine on site at Daventry which provides the ideal beam conditions for future beam testing. They have provided information on the range of beam parameters available, which has allowed us to estimate the potential tanning rate of a commercial system to compare to conventional tanning. EBeam (UK) have provided critical advise relating to the crosslinking of polymers, which is a similar process to tanning, and we are looking to collaborate with them on a future grant proposal. ComplexBeam is a company that has approached us with the intention of collaborate on this project, like Steris, they are also able to provide suitable beam conditions for future beam testing.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary and involves the following disciplines: - accelerator design - beam dynamics - particle interactions with matter - Chemical engineering - Leather tanning / protein modification
Start Year 2018
 
Title Process for tanning animal hide 
Description The patent covers the use of ionising radiation, most likely electrons, to tan leather as a novel and environmentally friendly process. 
IP Reference GB1914917.8 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2019
Licensed No
Impact At present, there is no direct impact from the patent, however studies indicate that it would drastically reduce the volume and toxicity of wastewater and effluent produced during the tanning process, while also being cheaper or equal cost to conventional methods.
 
Description RELIEF Collaboration workshop - Mexico 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact During the workshop in Mexico, we also engaged with relevant parties. We invited regional academics, policymakers and tanneries to engage. Due to confidentiality issues while filing the patent application, we were unable to engage to a wider audience, but would aim to do so for any future engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description RELIEF Collaboration workshop - UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In the UK, industrial and academic representatives attended. Due to confidentiality issues while filing the patent application, we were unable to engage to a wider audience, but would aim to do so for any future engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019