Tom Keighley

Member Article

University and mine operate partnership

A partnership between Teeside University and Cleveland Potash is set to reduce the company’s energy usage, and reduce environmental impact.

Cleveland Potash, which runs Bouldy Mine, has enlised the help of the University’s School of Science and Engineering, to tap into scientific knowledge and expect support.

The work has been facilitated by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), an initiative that draws on University expertise to help increase a company’s competitiveness, productivity and profits.

As part of the scheme, Teeside postgraduate Balaji Vasudevan is working on the reduction of particle emissions.

Based at Cleveland Potash, he works under the supervision of Dr Zhang, a senior lecturer in the School of Science and Engineering, who makes monthly visits to the company.

The firm first approached the University to work together to improve some of the process controls in the Potash refining plant, and a two-year KTP, funded by the Technoloy Strategy Board was established.

Jennie Thomas, Environmental Services Manager, said: “There is a legal limit to particle emissions from our stack, set by Redcar and Cleveland Council and although we operate well within the limits we want to ensure that our operations don’t affect these levels.

“Developing control strategies with the Plant Manager and his operators will help us to improve continually.

“This project and the support from the University is excellent in helping us in our commitment to the environment.

“Balaji is absolutely excellent. We’ve also had fantastic communications with Dr Zhang and Professor Paul Russell at the University. It’s been a very rewarding process and we’re looking to take Balaji’s work further.”

Balaji, 25, from India, said: “I worked first on a Collaborative Innovation Partnership (CIP), a six-month project with the University which explored how to reduce the company’s particle emissions and make energy savings.

“This project identified the process disturbances that could impact on particle emissions.

“I’m now looking at the best possible systems to reduce these emissions further without impacting on the production capability of the plant. There are a number of ways, for example trying to balance dryer feed rates and control methodology.
“My research has indicated that by reducing the variability of dryer control the emissions can be further improved and energy consumption in the drying process can also be improved.

“An online particulate monitor has been trialled and is now installed in the plant. This has been trialed as part of the KTP function.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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