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  Developing Filtration Technologies: Optimising Flue Gas Filtration Assets in the UK Energy from Waste Sector

   EPSRC CDT in Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems

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  Prof Bill Nimmo, Dr Abby Samson  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

About Durham Filtration

Durham Filtration Ltd. has the strategic intent to become a renowned technical authority in the field of flue-gas filtration for large-scale industrial combustion plants, particularly in the Energy-from-Waste and Biomass Energy markets of the UK and Europe. We have invested heavily in R&D to support this aim over the past 5 years with projects placed at Universities of Newcastle, Teesside and Sheffield in addition to KTP collaborations.

Our main business lies in providing filtration services to waste to energy and biomass plant operated by Viridor, Veolia, Sembcorp, Suez and E.On using combustion and gasification technologies.

We aim to provide best-practice filtration technologies, continuous improvement and innovative solutions for financial and environmental benefits. In return, we have access to plant and commercial data and the ability to trial our innovations using industrial samples or at full commercial scale.

R & D Plans

DF have plans to recruit on an annual basis to assist in developing our R & D effort in support of our commercial activities. DF envisage, should the opportunities arise, that the student could grow with the company as it expands its activities in this expanding sector as the UK engages with technologies that assist in reducing CO2 emissions. DF have benefited from this recruitment route in recent years.

We have a plan to enhance our capability at our Jarrow Facility and have constructed a filtration characterisation and testing laboratory, which allows us to conduct all the current industry standard measurements for post-operational flue gas filtration media. We are aware of the plans of Sheffield University to recover from the flooding at Beighton and we are committed to enhancing our current lab capabilities by constructing a new filtration and combustion characterisation laboratory. This new facility will leverage the existing know-how within Sheffield University and will serve to replace much of the capability formerly located at the Beighton pilot facility, whilst also evolving the University’s capability to reflect current industrial needs. We have allowed for a significant footprint of our Jarrow facility to be used for this purpose, with room for expansion in mind.

We envisage that this phase in our growth strategy will last at least four years, during which time we will actively pursue, fund and support commercialisation and publication of our jointly developed innovations.

EngD Proposal

Currently, there is an expansion in the UK for the provision of power and heat from waste to energy and biomass combustion plant which assist the UK Government in its goal to reduce CO2 emissions while solving disposal problems. However, this type of plant generates particulate emissions, particularly PM2.5, which provides technological challenges in their control due to their size and health hazard potential. Increasingly stringent emissions control legislation means that existing technology will need to be improved while maintaining operational efficiency. This provides challenges to minimise outage caused by filter failures in baghouses where higher performance filter installation can highlight weaknesses in designs related to optimisation of flue gas flow patterns as well as identification of regions of high material stresses by simulation work.

It is recognised that particulate control from biomass gasification processes presents different sets of challenges and we will work with customers using this technology to offer improved systems as an outcome from the areas of research proposed below.

To assist in developing these high-specification systems, DF would like to sponsor an EngD student to start in September 2023 from the Resilient Decarbonisation CDT at Sheffield. The project is related to particulate emissions control from energy from waste and biomass combustion/gasification plant.


  1. Develop a predictive toolkit for filtration asset owners to give quantitative predicted time-to-failure or optimal regions of operation (economic or environmental optima). Analyse, interpret, and visualise a high volume of data from a filtration specific sensor platform installed in a UK biomass combustion and gasification plant. Integrate with existing plant data collection methods and provide a structured model for plant performance. Develop a reporting package to deliver data visualisations to the end user in a meaningful way, reporting on the benefit of any corrective action predicted by the model.
  2. To run experimental programmes on the new combustion test facility hosted by DF at their Jarrow facility. The project will investigate the generation of particulate material under pilot plant operating conditions from a range of fuel blends that are typical of energy from waste and biomass energy plant. The controlled conditions of the CTF will be used to focus on issues created by particular fuel blends which is not possible by the analysis of industrially harvested samples from full scale plant. The results will be complimentary and combined they will offer insight into design solutions that can be offered by DF to the industry.
  3. Develop new marketable products or services to address the common issues found across plants. Provide the mechanical design, simulation, prototyping and validation of any developed equipment and assist in its commercialisation. Initially, a sorbent distribution nozzle is envisaged to address the issue of poor sorbent mixing in the flue gas treatment stream.
  4. Develop new test methods and metrics for quantifying ‘filter health’ with meaningful interpretations for end users. Evolve the current ISO testing standards, based on old textile manufacture methods, to bring about a new, market-specific testing standard and industrial best practice. Using a wealth of industrial samples, build a library of data and assist with model-based predictions of filter performance.
  5. Develop our understanding of Computational Fluid Dynamics, bringing our market offering up to the state of the art. Simulate filter media at the micro- and macro-scale, and provide approximations at the plant scale. Simulate filtration cleaning systems dynamically, at high spaciotemporal resolution. Develop CFD integrated optimisation frameworks or generative design methods to optimise geometries and develop novel solutions for common plant issues.

Please apply to the University of Sheffield.

Informal enquiries may be sent to Prof Bill Nimmo ([Email Address Removed]) and Dr Abby Samson ([Email Address Removed]). Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted.

Engineering (12)

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