Products and Processes

'About one third of world energy consumption is attributable to manufacturing, the majority of which is consumed in the production and transformation of materials. Low energy manufacturing and conservation of raw materials must therefore be a keystone of industrial sustainability.'

Academic Lead: Steve Bull, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

Increasing efficiency and flexibility, reducing raw material and energy costs and minimising waste streams: the factory of the future will be more effective, more flexible and, above all, conserve natural resources significantly better than current standards. The chemical industry is at the forefront of developments in this area and companies are crossing competitive boundaries to collaborate with universities and research organisations both on technologies for process intensification and on production concepts, which lead to more efficient production methods or novel products.

The sustainable development and use of key resources, in particular water and energy, are critically important to meet future environmental and societal challenges. At Newcastle we undertake significant research in this area, including generation of energy from novel sources, low carbon and renewable technologies, novel raw material production routes and the clean-up of effluent and wastewater.

Materials and manufacturing Titanium tubes – we are working on the engineering of novel production processes to reduce the cost and energy requirement for primary metal manufacture.
Materials and Manufacturing:
About two thirds of the energy used in manufacturing is consumed in the extraction of raw materials and their transformation into product forms used in manufacture. We are working on novel primary material production and transformation processes and the sustainable use of raw materials to address this. If a product consumes energy during its life then this will usually outweigh the energy consumed in manufacture so energy efficient products are essential. We are working on strategies to design products for low carbon manufacture and long life e.g. manufacture at the point of use or reusable/recyclable components.
Waste and pollution reduction Prototype electrochemical ozone generator for wastewater treatment
Waste and Pollution Reduction :
The cost of industrial waste is increasing as manufacturers take more responsibility for the disposal of end of life products. We are looking at strategies to increase the recycling/reuse of materials, components and sub assemblies through improvements in design, novel treatment processes and finding new uses for waste streams.
Catalysis and process intensification

Process intensification

Catalysis and Process Intensification:
Our work brings together world-class engineers and scientists to tackle the major challenges of developing new and improved energy production processes, reducing CO2 emissions and creating a green and sustainable chemicals industry.
Bioprocessing facility

Bioprocessing facility

Bioprocessing:
Our focus is on biosystems engineering, bridging the gap between University-based research and the take-up of technology by industry. We provide a unifying umbrella for biologists, modellers, engineers, and chemists to undertake research and knowledge transfer, and through this provide interdisciplinary training in disciplines relevant to bioprocessing at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. The goal is to understand underlying biological complexity and as a consequence manipulate biological behaviour and/or realise improved whole process design and sustainability.
 

For further information, email sustainability@ncl.ac.uk.