FILTERS developed for marine applications are taking on a new role cleaning everything from vegetable oils in the food industry to wood tars produced in green energy gassifiers thanks to the ingenuity of a Sheffield engineer.
John Beddis spent most of his working life in the oil and then the food processing industries before branching out on his own.
His first aim, after setting up Comocri at the Advanced Manufacturing Park’s Innovation Technology Centre, was to develop a filter for extending the life of vegetable oils.
“The equipment was 99.9 per cent there, when I was seduced by a company within the ITC building that came to me with a problem,” says Mr Beddis.
The company was Tony Fordham’s ITI Energy, which COMOCRI is one of a number of companies that have outgrown incubator workshops at the Innovation Technology Centre.
The company recently moved to the Fusion At Magna development, where it is developing its own test centre to allow it to process samples was developing a plant to turn wood chips into a gas that could be burnt in an engine to generate electricity. ITI needed some way of cleaning the gas which contained considerable amounts of oils and tars.
John Beddis not only came up with a way of cleaning the water used to remove the oil and tars from the gas allowing it to be discharged into the drains with no impact on the environment.
He also recovered the oils and tars, which can be used as fuel in their own right. “I cannot claim to have invented anything,” says the modest Mr Beddis, whose company recently moved to the Fusion At Magna development after outgrowing its ITC premises.
“I came up with a product that already existed in the from companies and come up with guaranteed solutions without having to disrupt production by carrying out tests on site.
Although Comocri has now moved, John Beddis emphasises the important role the Innovation Technology Centre played in the development of marine industry and added other elements to create a new piece of equipment.”
But Mr Beddis hasn’t stopped there, he’s used his ingenuity to come up with a series of different pieces of equipment for a range of diverse applications, all using filters developed by Germanbased multi-national Mahle.
Comocri has enabled the UK’s leading manufacturer of concrete blocks, Tarmac Topblock, to re-use 800 tonnes of water a week that previously had to be flushed down the drains.
The firm has helped a Northampton company that fries bacon on an industrial scale for pre-packed sandwiches, to separate fat – which can be turned into bio-diesel – from water, which can now be put down the drains, and it is involved in trials that could his business. The purpose of the ITC is to get people feeding off each other, creating interaction between companies,” he said. “One of the things with modern industry is that everyone plays things close to their chest and feels its wrong to ask other people for their thoughts enable a major industrial concern in South Yorkshire to dispose more easily of massive amounts of water used in its processes.
Comocri can take water out of oils, enabling it to purify bio-diesels and eliminating problems like diesel pest – a bacterial growth which occurs when water gets into the fuel. It is looking at developing systems for cleaning lubricating oils which get contaminated by high pressure steam when they are used in power station steam turbines.
“It’s not an exact science,” said Mr Beddis.
“Everything we do is bespoke, but everything we do as a pay back – not just for the company we are working for, but for the environment. We are only scratching the surface. Our aim is to get rid of chemical waste in water treat “If you have freedom of thoughts you would be amazed at the solutions you come up with and that’s what sets this place apart.
“If I hadn’t come here I wouldn’t have met IMI or Aspire, who are doing more and more of our marketing strategy,” adds John Beddis.
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