wilton centre
Aerial view of Wilton Centre.
Rebecca Wayman

Teesside tech centre chosen as new base for university's spin-out £6m company

An university spin-out technology company has chosen Teesside’s Wilton Centre as its production development base, with an initial £6m investment, creating four new jobs.

Green Lizard Technologies Limited - a spin-out from Queen’s University Belfast - has acquired pilot plant, office and laboratory space at the Wilton Centre, Teesside’s premier science and business park, to test manufacture Epoxy Propanol (EP).

It’s also known as Glycidol, which can be used to create ‘greener’, ‘cleaner’ surfactants, that are used in detergents and soaps, industrial paints and coatings, and speciality chemicals.

The Wilton Centre will house Europe’s first production plant for EP. At present, it is primarily manufactured in Japan, with a small amount produced in the US.

Should the pilot production plant prove successful, Green Lizard and its development partners will invest around £17m in a full scale production plant at Wilton, employing more than 30 people. This could open as early as 2021.

Professor Martin Atkins, Green Lizard’s CEO and chair of chemical innovation and sustainability at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “The Wilton Centre was recommended to us by the Knowledge Transfer Network and it is fantastic.

“In fact, there is no better place in the UK. The facilities are already here to run a test production plant 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with experienced workers.

“There is room for us to expand on site, and to a potential full production plant on the Wilton International site next door… We are also in talks with international companies, including a consortium from China, which are interested in using our tech in manufacturing processes.”

Green Lizard has developed safe, sustainable technology which converts Glycerol, a waste product from the manufacture of biodiesel, into EP.

Green Lizard chose the Wilton Centre for its pilot plant and development centre for a combination of on-site facilities and partner organisations, and Teesside’s readily available skilled workforce.

Steve Duffield, site director at the Wilton Centre, added: “Green Lizard is the fourth university technology company which has chosen to base its production development work at the Wilton Centre, and the third from outside the North East.

“We have all the infrastructure, facilities and supporting expertise in place to allow them to focus on their task of scaling their production processes.”

Green Lizard taking space at the 75-acre science and business park has followed closely behind Loughborough University spin-out company, Micropore, committing to the Wilton Centre for a further 10 years, and US technology company Calysta expanding its facilities.

Wilton Centre is a privately-owned science and business park located in the middle of Teesside just five minutes’ drive from Middlesbrough.

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