Richard Alan Engineering: Yorkshire fabrication firm takes key role in EU-backed carbon capture technology project

A Yorkshire fabrication company is playing a central role in a pioneering carbon capture research project seeking to help major industries reduce their emissions.

Dewsbury-based Richard Alan Engineering is one of the British partners for an EU-backed research project which looks to store carbon from exhaust fumes.

Brad Wilson, UK sales and marketing director, told The Yorkshire Post that the firm has been working with Newcastle University for several years on the technology and has successfully created a prototype capable of removing one tonne of carbon per day that has been piloted at a company in Glasgow and at Sheffield’s Translational Energy Research Centre.

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The process involves a system called a rotating packed bed, which spins around to increase the contact of different phases of matter such as liquid-solid or liquid-gas, thus enhancing mass transfer between the two.

Richard Alan Engineering of Dewsbury is involved in a pioneering carbon capture project.Richard Alan Engineering of Dewsbury is involved in a pioneering carbon capture project.
Richard Alan Engineering of Dewsbury is involved in a pioneering carbon capture project.

The firm is now involved with a European consortium called HiRECORD on the creation of an expanded version capable of capturing 10 tonnes per day. The multi-year research project is being backed with over €6m of funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.

Mr Wilson said it is hoped the unit will be ready by mid-2024 and it will then be moved for testing and analysis to facilities in Greece and Norway to allow the technology to be refined before it is potentially ready for market.

He said the scheme represents an exciting business opportunity for the company, as well as a chance for it to play a part in reducing the world’s carbon emissions.

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"We deal in fabrication. Over the years we have grown into fabricating large tanks, vessels and silos but we also do a bit of R&D work which is where this came from,” he said.

"A professor at Newcastle University called Jonathan Lee came to us about four years ago with an idea of creating equipment which would be quite mobile and able to take carbon dioxide out of exhaust flumes.

"The initial idea was to put it on tankers. It is a rotating packed bed system about 2.5m, 3m in diameter and about 1,800mm height. It is quite a compact system.”

He said work is currently taking place on the design with a UK firm called Carbon Clean Solutions.

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Mr Wilson said there is a broad potential target market for the technology.

"Originally we were looking at putting them on large container tankers but it is really anyone with an exhaust fume that is producing carbon dioxide so it covers a multitude of industries – the chemical industry, industrial, oil and gas.

"Originally when we took this there was an investment in our part because we weren’t charging for a lot of the design development. We should at the end of this period have a product we own the rights to that we could go out and sell to different industries. Potentially it is huge, it is a massive market. In five or ten years time we see Richard Alan being a major producer of a product that can reduce carbon output for a number of different industries.

"We hopefully will have something ready for market within five years.”

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