A Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Recycling Lives and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has won a Times Higher Education Award.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Preston-based recycling and waste management company, Recycling Lives, and experts at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has produced some exceptional outcomes: described as a ‘game changer’ for car recycling, it has also enabled potential savings of £1.5 million a year, generated electricity and been named Most Innovative Contribution to Business-University Collaboration at the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards.

The Challenge

A two-year study, led by Dr Ala Khodier and his team working with Recycling Lives and UCLan, set out to try to reuse the estimated 1.2 million tonnes of residue left over every year after the company shreds around 100,000 vehicles at the end of their lives, diverting it from landfill.

At the end of the study period, the team then created a process to transform the residue, made up of foams, rubber, fibres and textiles, into electrical energy. The team also managed to identify metals in the residue that could be extracted and returned to the market.

The results

As a result, it’s estimated that Recycling Lives, which uses its recycling activity to support its own projects on prisoner rehabilitation and homelessness, can generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity and make savings of £1.5 million a year.

UCLan and Recycling Lives are now entering into a joint venture that will see their partnership building and owning a £540,000 research facility to commercialise the project.

Chemical engineer Dr Ala Khodier said: “I am incredibly honoured that our work has been recognised at such a high level. These findings are the result of a perfect partnership between Recycling Lives and UCLan, exploring how we can achieve best in class recycling processes.”

Dr. Andrew Kenney, the Knowledge Transfer Adviser at the Knowledge Transfer Network who put the partnership together, added: “This has been an outstanding KTP with strong outcomes for all concerned. The continuing collaboration and investment is particularly pleasing. I am delighted to have been involved.”

About Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

KTPs aim to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. They are funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, and are part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships have been helping UK businesses innovate for growth for over 40 years. These special, funded collaborations are available to organisations in any sector and of any size, and provide unique access to the UK’s world-class academic resources.

If you think a funded KTP could help your organisation innovate for growth, contact one of our specialist KTP Advisers. They are based throughout the UK and can assess your idea, help you apply for the KTP and will remain on hand with advice and support for the duration of the project.

KTP applications enjoy a high rate of success (around 90%), and competitions for funding run throughout the year. Find out more here.

There is further information on how a Knowledge Transfer Partnership could help your organisation, and how to apply for one here.

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