• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

(Left to right) - Josh Chuter, Senior Researcher and Gerard Stephens, Head of Research and Technology.(Left to right) - Josh Chuter, Senior Researcher and Gerard Stephens, Head of Research and Technology.

The Materials Processing Institute has invested £3.1m into key equipment and facilities as part of a groundbreaking programme to support scaling-up sustainable technologies and industrial decarbonisation for the foundation industries, which contribute £50 billion annually to the UK economy and produce 75% of all materials globally.

EconoMISER, a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded programme, is the first project delivered by the Foundation Industry Sustainability Consortium (FISC) which comprises leading research and technology centres, Henry Royce Institute, Glass Futures Ltd, Centre for Process Innovation, Lucideon and the Materials Processing Institute. These centres are all working together across five core areas – alternative fuels, recycling and reuse, digital control and sensors, process optimisation and sustainable materials development to accelerate the foundation industries’ journey towards sustainability and net-zero objectives.

The £3.1m investment has enabled the Institute to broaden its research, development and innovation capabilities for the foundation industries. It has included:

  • New equipment for the Institute’s Advanced Materials Development Centre to support mechanical testing, vacuum brazing and forging.
  • Hydrogen facilities to explore new routes to decarbonisation.
  • Equipment to help get valuable materials back into use through waste segregation, identifying opportunities for re-use and minimising associated costs.
  • Scaled-up hydrometallurgy laboratory capabilities.
  • Dedicated scale-up zones for client pilot scale development and pre-production scale testing, together with research and development and process analysis.

As a direct result of this investment, projects undertaken have included technology development and evaluation to create efficiencies and new processes in the production of metals, developing new materials and re-using steel industry slag in cement production, and researching materials to create alternative high temperature, heavy duty refractory linings.

The second phase, EconoMISER 2, got underway in April and runs until March 2025. This sees an additional £4.2m released to the Institute to support additional investment in equipment to support research into a variety of areas including enhanced alloys, cement, refractories characterisation, and augmented Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Gerard Stephens, Head of Research and Technology at the Materials Processing Institute, said: “Our facilities are uniquely equipped to support the foundation industries in integrating new, greener technologies into their operations. This investment enables the Institute to lead this critical research and it also strengthens the UK’s position in pioneering and commercialising industrial sustainability.

“All foundation industries stakeholders and partners can access and benefit from the advancements made possible by these significant investments that will foster growth and innovation through improved resource efficiency, the scaling up of sustainable products, decarbonisation of industrial processes and integration of Industry 4.0 solutions.”