Strata Technology joins QUILL Ionic Liquids Research Centre to help commercialise new Green Technology's aim is to reduce waste from industrial processes to zero

Industrial Lubrication and Tribology

ISSN: 0036-8792

Article publication date: 1 August 2004

Keywords

Citation

(2004), "Strata Technology joins QUILL Ionic Liquids Research Centre to help commercialise new Green Technology's aim is to reduce waste from industrial processes to zero", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 56 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/ilt.2004.01856dab.004

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Strata Technology joins QUILL Ionic Liquids Research Centre to help commercialise new Green Technology's aim is to reduce waste from industrial processes to zero

Strata Technology joins QUILL Ionic Liquids Research Centre to help commercialise new Green Technology's aim is to reduce waste from industrial processes to zero

Keywords: Strata Technology, Research, Liquids, Environment

Strata Technology, the specialist consultancy for R&D scientists and engineers, has accepted an invitation to join the internationally renowned Queen's University Ionic Limited Laboratories (QUILL) centre at The Queen's University of Belfast (QUB), the first in the world to focus on ionic liquids.

The only equipment designer and manufacturer among QUILL'S 20 commercial members. Strata recently completed the design and build of a new spinning disc reactor in close collaboration with the Centre. This experimental equipment uses laser Raman monitoring to study the behaviour of ionic liquid solvents at elevated temperatures and pressures with a heterogeneous catalyst coated on the surface of the spinning disc.

Promising significant environmental benefits and substantial economic advantages to industry, ionic liquids are a highly attractive “green process” replacement for the volatile organic solvents that are the normal media for the industrial syntheses of organic chemicals, both petrochemical and pharmaceutical. Although these traditional oxygenated and chlorinated solvents have a current worldwide usage valued at £4 billion their environmental impact is significant. By perfecting this new, “green” technology, researchers are aiming to systematically reduce the waste from an industrial process ultimately to zero. In most cases this will require the rethinking and redesign of the chemical processes currently considered to be the industrial norm.

“All the indications are that room-temperature ionic liquids are the basis of a new industrial technology – they are truly designer solvents. For the first time, it is possible to design a solvent to optimise a reaction, with control over both yield and selectivity, rather than to have the solvent dictate the course. However, there are still many barriers to be overcome, especially the scale-up and implementation of processes that we know to work very efficiently on a bench scale. It is especially because of Strata Technology's expertise and experience in this critical area that we have invited them to join us” commented Professor Ken Seddon, Research Director of QUILL and Chair of Inorganic Chemistry at QUB.T

The unique combinations of biological, physiochemical and electrochemical properties of ionic liquids enable their potential application across a wide range of industries including drug delivery, lubricants, fuel cells, solar panels, metal extraction, household and personal care products.

Dr John Bassett, Managing Director of Strata Technology, believes that from now on there will be increasing political, economic, social and environmental demands for the rapid and widespread introduction of this new green technology. “Its implementation will lead to a cleaner environment, and more cost-effective use of starting materials. Industries that do not respond will die and we are delighted to be at the sharp end with QUILL helping to apply this exciting science successfully across much of manufacturing industry”, he said.

The QUILL “sustainable chemistry” centre was formed in 1999 and is modelled on QUESTOR, QUB's highly successful interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Technology Research Centre, the first industry-university co-operative research centre carrying out fundamental environment-related scientific research inEurope.

QUILL'S aim is to explore and develop ionic liquids as a media for synthetic organic chemistry so that current commercial processes using conventional molecular organic solvents may be replaced by clean processes using ionic liquid technology, and so that new processes may be developed. Additionally, the intention is to provide all the physical and chemical engineering data necessary to facilitate the design and operation of a pilot plant.

To enable the breadth of essential research to be performed, members of staff from Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Physics direct the work of more than 25 researchers. The international status of QUILL has recently been recognised by its designation as a training site for the Marie Curie Fellowship Association, a scheme to stimulate the training and mobility of researchers in the European Community. QUILL membership comprises of a range of 20 multinational companies spanning the whole chemical industry.

For further information, contact: Professor Ken Seddon. Tel: +44 (0)28 90 97577; Web site: www.quill.qub.ac.uk and www.ch.qub.ac.uk