Sulphate removal

An invention to remove potentially harmful chemical waste from manufacturing processes has been developed by a north east company.

A north-east company has developed a process to remove potentially harmful chemical waste from manufacturing processes.

The new process, developed by Integrated Effluent Solutions (IES) of Spennymoor, CountyDurham, has been developed with the aid of a £74,000 research and development grant from regional development agency One North East.

The 18-month project cost a total of £140,000.

The chemical process uses hypersonic vibrations to separate the sulphate from the waste water.

The potentially toxic sulphate is rendered harmless to the environment and in some cases it can be recycled and used as a base material for making concrete and cement.

One of the company’s first customers will be the Royal Mint, which produces 40 per cent of the world’s coins.

The Royal Mint will use the chemical process to remove sulphates, created during the finishing of copper and nickel-plated coins, from its drainage system

The process has already undergone successful pilot plant trials on the site.

Chemist and IES managing director Andy Dargue, who devised the new process, said: ‘This chemical process helps companies meet ever-tighter environmental controls and negate the impact potentially harmful sulphates can have if they leak into the drainage system.

‘It also has the added benefit of producing a waste product that can be recycled into building materials such as cement and concrete, so not only will the waste water be made safer, businesses will save on transport and landfill costs and also significantly reduce their impact on the environment.’

IES was created five years ago by Dargue and business partner Phil Grainger.

The firm employs five people from its base in EnterpriseCity, Spennymoor.