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Technology Portfolio


Over recent years Stopford’s Innovation Team, in partnership with leading academic institutes and industry experts, has developed a strong portfolio of novel process technologies to enhance the performance of the energy and environment sectors.

Plasmergy – Microwave Induced Plasma Technology


Stopford is revolutionising the renewable energy sector with the provision of highly efficient process technologies to maximise energy generation from biomass and waste whilst minimising carbon emissions across their supply chains. Developed in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University our Plasmergy Microwave Induced Plasma (MIP) technologies enable the effective recovery and recycling of carbon, mitigating against climate change and enhancing the quality of life through the provision of clean low-carbon energy.

Our technologies include:

  • MIP Gasification
  • MIP Torrefaction

MIP Gasification


The Plasmergy MIP Gasification process, is a novel energy from waste technology that employs high temperature MIP for the thermal conversion of solid fuel into a synthesis gas. The staged gasification approach enables the composition of the syngas to be tuned to be rich in hydrogen, rich in carbon monoxide, and low in tars so that only minimal gas treatment is required. The process has been designed to enable a flexible approach to energy generation with a gas engine, gas turbine or fuel cell technology. Furthermore, with hydrogen and carbon monoxide being the main constituents, the syngas also has other advanced applications for chemicals synthesis and for the production of transport fuels.

Developed over 7 years and with over £2M investment to date, Plasmergy now operates a 50 tpa pilot facility.

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Technical Advantages

  • The plasmas are generated from microwaves, and unlike their direct current equivalents, the torches have no corrodible parts which results in an increase in operational lifespan whilst reducing plant OPEX costs.
  • The microwave plasma plumes operate at >1000°C and enable the efficient gasification of solid fuel without the requirement of an oxidant. The clean, undiluted syngas generated is of a high quality, ideal for energy generation via gas engines, gas turbines or fuel cells.
  • The plasmas are self-striking and immediately deliver the high temperatures required to thermally dissociate the feedstock, unlike conventional gasification technologies which have long and labour intensive start-up procedures.
  • The high gasification temperature and intensity of the plasma plume leads to almost complete fuel conversion, minimising waste, and increasing fuel efficiencies.
  • The technology is commercially viable at smaller scales and requires relatively few components. A complete power generation system can be self-contained within a single transportable ‘plug and play’ modular unit enabling both decentralised heat and power generation and rapid integration within existing heat and power networks.

Application and Markets

The technical areas of innovation realised by Plasmergy has enabled the development of a waste to energy technology that:

  • Eliminates waste miles
  • Provides a solution for waste disposal and renewable energy generation
  • Future-proofs against changes in waste arisings
  • Is a low CAPEX modular technology
  • Is recognised as an “Advanced Conversion Technology” under the UK Government’s Contract for Difference (CfD) renewable energy incentive scheme.

Given the described technical advantages of the Plasmergy MIP gasification process, the technology has applications in the food, medical, education, military, farming, forestry, energy, waste management, off-grid, island communities, aviation, facilities management, disaster relief, maritime, transport, retail, construction and manufacturing sectors, and in doing so provides a sustainable, low carbon, and cost effective alternative to existing practices.

MIP Torrefaction


The Plasmergy MIP Torrefaction process is a novel technology to enable low energy generation of “bio-coal” from biomass. The Torrefaction process uses low temperatures to heat wood, in the absence of oxygen, to produce a char-like fuel that, once pelletised, has properties similar to coal. The increase in the energy density of torrefied biomass as well its enhanced physical properties for fuel handling and storage, therefore presents the power generation sector with an attractive alternative to woody biomass for co-firing.

Technical & Commercial Advantages

  • Ability to torrefy biomass pellets directly
  • Rapid start-up and shut down of the technology
  • Avoid an energy intensive process step in the conventional torrified biomass pellet supply chain
  • Ability to integrate MIP Torrefaction technology into a wood pelleting facility

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Applications and Markets

Co-firing plants in the UK typically generate up to 6% of their power using biomass. Aberthaw Power Station in Wales is typical of the industry in the UK and generates 1,555 MW of power for export to the grid, 55 MW of which is generated by co-firing coal with biomass. Using Aberthaw as an example co-firing plant and switching from woody biomass to our torrified pellets brings the following benefits:

  • 24% increase in electricity generation when comparing against an equivalent volume of chipped biomass;
  • 45% reduction in the volume of biogenic feedstock required to produce an equivalent amount of electricity;
  • Significant transport savings as a consequence of higher bulk density and energy density than chipped biomass as well as significant savings from transporting a dry fuel compared to wood (30% – 40% moisture);
  • Improved financial returns from incentives for renewable energy generation

Land Conditioners from the By-Products of Bio-Energy Generation


Stopford, in partnership with Lancaster University & Defra, is currently leading a project that will see the development and efficacy testing of a number of land conditioning products from the residues from bio-energy generation. Ash from thermal conversion plants and digestate from AD schemes, have significant nutrient values and properties conducive to their use as soil conditioners and fertilisers. However, whilst nutritional value of these wastes is understood, the practicality of exploiting these sources is compromised through a range of challenges associated with highly variable feedstock inputs leading to by-product inconsistency and variability, as well as logistical barriers relating to geographical supply and demand, and high water content in digestate. That they are wastes also provides a highly risk-averse, tight regulatory framework in which to operate. Therefore through the development of novel, safe, homogenous and sustainable land conditioning products from bio-energy residues, the by-products of bio-energy generation will be monetised, the economic viability of the sector enhanced and the pressure on natural mineral resources reduced.

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This project is being delivered through:

  • Formulation of land conditioners from the by-products of bio-energy generation;
  • Assessing the efficacy of these land conditioners on crop growth and eco-system health with comparison to commercial fertilizer formulations;
  • Engaging with competent authorities relating to evidence and policy change required to enable the application of bio-energy by-product derived soil conditioners to agricultural systems.

Stopford present at ADBA R&D Forum, April 2015 See the project website here.

EncapsUwaste


Stopford, the major shareholder in Encapsu Waste UK Ltd, has developed a novel ultra-sonic micro-encapsulation process which can be used for the treatment of hazardous waste streams. The process enables the hazardous component of a waste stream to become “locked up” within an encapsulation matrix, turning an undesirable waste into an inert saleable product. The technology presents industry with a novel method for reducing waste disposal costs, whilst increasing the environmental sustainability of the sector.

Determination of the Bio-Energy Fraction of Mixed Waste


Stopford’s consultants and technologists, in partnership with the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, developed and validated a pioneering technique to determine the bio-energy fraction of waste entering thermal treatment plants through measurement of the 12C/14C isotope ratios in the resultant plant combustion gases. The technique provides a step-change in method precision and accuracy compared to the existing liquid dissolution technique.

Isotope Recovery Service


Stopford, in partnership with BDB Dismantling Ltd, has developed a novel isotope recovery technology for the treatment of low level nuclear metals waste. The process uses a chemical solution to remove radionuclides from the surface of contaminated metals. The treated metal can be reclassified as free release (exempt) material or as material that is safe to handle. The radionuclides can then be precipitated from the treatment solution and disposed of as low level nuclear waste. The technology presents the industry with a novel, safe, quick and low cost treatment method which will significantly reduce the volume of low level waste being sent for disposal.

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