Bangor University

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Pilot Plant and Facilities at Bangor University

The BEACON capability based at Bangor University is separated over two sites: the main university campus and the Bio Products and Biorefining Technology Transfer Centre based at Mona on Anglesey.

These facilities house a range of key equipment and associated expertise to enable academic and industrial partners to develop  and demonstrate scale-up processes, taking laboratory research to economically viable industrial applications.

This includes a pressurised refining and pilot scale facility coupled with supercritical fluid and chemical/ analytical support.

AIMS

  • Provide a flexible environment where plant biomass can be taken from mechanical and thermochemical processing through bioconversion to products such as transport fuels, platform chemicals and fine chemicals.
  • Bridge the gap between laboratory and demonstration research and deliver an impact to the commercial sector with collaborative research and development.
  • Develop processes, technologies and products from plant biomass that provide alternatives to products made from oil, delivering a positive impact on climate change.
  • Develop a growing network of industrial collaborators and encourage academia to business and business to business research and technical development.
  • Generate and exploit intellectual property in collaboration with our partners.
  • Provide life cycle assessment support to better understand the most economic routes to new and existing products.

EXPERTISE/STRENGTHS

  • Production of biocomposites
  • Fibre based packaging
  • Bio based plastics and packaging
  • Isolation of bioactives and bio products such a plant waxes
  • Isolation of bio based additives for e.g. the cosmetic industry
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Organic synthesis

FACILITIES

Mona - Anglesey

The Bio products and Biorefining Technology Transfer Centre has been based at the Mona site since 2007.  The site has a number of key offerings.

Pressurised refiner consisting of

  • Modular Screw Device
  • Refiner disc (refining zone) with variable residence time 4- 30 min and 2- 20 bar
  • Blowline resination
  • 120 metre Flash drier
  • Fibre collection and mattress forming station
  • Prepress
  • Main hot press

Pilot scale apparatus:

  • 50 litre chemistry processing unit
  • 20 litre rotary evaporator
  • Pilot-scale chromatographic purification
  • Twin screw extruder for wood fibre and polymer composites
  • Film forming line

Main site Bangor

Supercritical CO2 extraction:

  • Small scale extractions i.e. 10 ml, 1000 ml and 1000 ml with an operating temperature up to 120°C and 50-600 bar
  • Pilot scale extractions of 2 x 15 litres.  Temperature range from 5- 80°C  and maximum pressure of 700 bar

Chemical and analytical:

  • 400MHz and 500MHz NMR spectroscopic facilities
  • Quadrupole mass spectrometers with GC and electrospray capability
  • FTIR spectrophotometers
  • GC and HPLC
  • X-ray diffraction and surface analysis
  • ICP-AES and graphite furnace flame Atomic Absorption spectroscopy
  • Organic synthesis

APPLICATIONS

A variety of opportunities are available to develop commercial opportunities. These include:

  • Pressurised refining of biomass to produce fibre for a range of applications e.g. garden decking composed of  fibre/ plastic composites
  • Production of packaging products from plant fibre
  • Formulation ,blending  and evaluation of bio based plastics
  • Chemical analysis of e.g. refined products
  • Isolation of plant chemicals  for use in the cosmetic and healthcare industries
  • Organic synthesis of  a range of plant chemicals  e.g. guanidines
  • Chemical alteration of e.g. alkaloids and fatty acids

School of Chemistry at Bangor University

Bangor University’s School of Chemistry houses all the analytical equipment and expertise needed for R&D work.  We have extensive research facilities at the School of Chemistry which are available to our commercial partners. These include:

Facilities and Analysis

  • Gas Chromatography (GC) and Gas Chromatography / Mass spectrometry (GCMS)
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Liquid Chromatography / Mass spectrometry (LCMS)
  • Gel permeation chromatography (GPC)
  • Mass spectrometry - Direct Insertion EI and Direct Infusion ESI techniques
  • Ion Chromatography (IC)
  • Flash chromatography (Preparative)
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (NMR)
  • Ultra violet / visible spectroscopy (UV/Vis)
  • Infra-Red spectroscopy (IR)
  • Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AA)
  • X-Ray diffraction (XRD)
  • Thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA/DSC)

Gas and Liquid Chromatography

Various chromatographic capabilities, including numerous GC and HPLC instruments. The HPLC instruments are equipped with UV and diode array detection and we also have facilities for Gel-Permeation Chromatography for the determination of the molecular weights of polymers. Flash chromatography systems afford the ability to separate complex mixtures of organic compounds and to isolate them in preparative quantities.

Mass Spectrometry

We house modern facilities for the measurement of mass spectra. Our suite of mass spectrometers include quadrupole, ion trap, triple quad and time-of-flight instruments with assorted ionisation modes including Electron and Electrospray ionization. When linked to powerful separation techniques such as Gas and Liquid chromatography these instruments provide a powerful tool for the identification and quantitation of a wide range of organic compounds. Advanced software allows library searching and deconvolution of spectra.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (NMR)

We have NMR spectroscopic facilities at both 400MHz and 500MHz. Both these instruments have automated facility and have multinuclear probes (up to silver). Both machines also have broadband solid state and variable temperature solid state capabilities (originally developed in Bangor). They are able to produce multidimensional spectra and have inverse detection capability. Both machines can do variable temperature analysis of samples. The 500MHz machine also has the possibility of being connected to other systems such as LC and MS. Contact us directly for more details.

Infrared and Ultraviolet Spectrometry

We have a number of standard FTIR spectrophotometers for the measurement of routine samples.  UV spectra can be measured using standard instrumentation. There are facilities for kinetics measurements.

X-ray powder diffraction and Thermo-gravimetric analysis

Both X-ray powder diffraction and thermogravimetric analysis yield important information about the surface and bulk properties of materials and these instruments provide essential physical and chemical data for research.

Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AA)

Central to the research work of the department is the ability to accurately measure the concentrations of metals. We have modern atomic absorption instrumentation and also access to inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectroscopy – a powerful technique which can measure a wide range of elements simultaneously.

Ion Chromatography (IC)

The identification and quantitation of charged ionic species in a liquid is achieved by a modern ion chromatography system with the ability to analyse both cations and anions with conductivity detection.


These are in addition to well-equipped research laboratories for physical measurements, synthetic and trace analytical work as well as a team of experts working on the Beacon+ project.
 

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