A North East company is being helped to access millions of pounds of potential new business thanks to an internship programme being run by Teesside University.
Durham Filtration has taken part in a Knowledge Exchange Internship (KEI) in order to investigate the impact of different filtration systems on biomass-fired power stations.
The Jarrow-based company provides filtration products for a range of sectors, including oil and gas, dust and fume control and power generation.
As biomass-fired power stations have become increasingly prevalent, the KEI has allowed Durham Filtration to get a better understanding of the complex needs of this expanding market.
KEIs, which are part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) are unique to Teesside University.
Ben Dannatt, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Newcastle University, was employed by Durham Filtration to research the challenges faced by biomass power stations in relation to flue gas filtration systems and their associated costs.
As well subsidising Ben’s salary, the KEI also provided academic support and mentoring from Teesside University.
Ben has carried out a systematic literature survey, involving more than 50 papers, patents and commercial publications, to build up a body of knowledge about the different needs of biomass power stations.
In addition, he has worked with several of Durham Filtration’s key clients to get a better understanding of how different flue gas filtration systems impact upon their costs.
As a result, Durham Filtration can now offer their clients an enhanced consultancy service that reflects their needs and is based upon both qualitative and quantitative data.
Ben said: “The KEI has resulted in some tangible assets for the company by combining the relevant academic, industrial and economic data.
“It should allow Durham Filtration to break new markets with an enhanced offering.”
With the biomass filtration market worth more than £5m a year, Durham Filtration’s managing director, Barry Goulden, believes this could have a major impact on the business.
He said: “Over the course of the KEI, the scope of the project has expanded and we’re now in talks with filter fabric manufacturers about potentially selling equipment in Europe.
“This will make a huge difference to the business. It’s a complete game-changer.”
Professor Gary Montague, from Teesside University’s School of Science & Engineering, said: “This has been an extremely interesting project to work on and has opened up several new areas of investigation.
“As well as being of great benefit to Durham Filtration it will help to inform our teaching and research at Teesside University.”