Oxford Catalysts embark on expansion

Oxford Catalysts is expanding its laboratory facilities and investing in additional analytical equipment to speed up the development of new catalysts.

The expansion will involve a total investment of more than £1m, and will more than double the floor space of the existing laboratories. Oxford Catalysts also plans to purchase a small-scale Fischer-Tropsch (FT) rig, a reforming test rig and a hydrodesulphurisation (HDS) test rig, along with associated analytical and catalyst preparation equipment.

‘Having this expanded lab facility will allow us to carry out the necessary testing to provide our customers with the essential information they need about a catalyst more quickly,’ said Derek Atkinson, business development director at Oxford Catalysts.

FT and HDS catalysts are used in processes such as gas to liquids (GTL) and coal to liquids (CTL), which are used to convert feedstocks such as natural gas and coal into liquid fuels. FT catalysts are also used in the emerging field of biomass to liquids.

As part of the project, Oxford Catalysts has already purchased two Amtec Spider16 high throughput screening gas phase reactor systems, which are due to begin operating from March 2008.

The expansion is scheduled for completion by July 2008.