Towards a Net Zero World for the Chemicals Sector - Innovator Profiles

Posted on: 04/03/2020

Achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 is a monumental challenge for the UK and the Northern PowerHouse. How can these innovators help?



The Northern Powerhouse (NPH) is  home to three of the UK’s most carbon intensive industrial clusters: Teesside, Humberside & the North West. The entire region will require strong policy and investment from the private and public sector, in order to deploy a range of technologies required to reach Net Zero and maintain competitiveness in global markets.


For that purpose, KTN is actively working with the established manufacturing industry, helping them find funding and partners. Following KTN’s Competition for Innovators, top three companies were selected to join us at¬†EvoNorth 2020¬†to showcase how their unique capabilities can help the process industries tackle the Net Zero challenge.

Read their profiles below.

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Kew Technology – A world without fossil fuels

Kew Technology is tackling climate change by efficiently converting all types of non-recyclable waste into clean energy, including power, heat, hydrogen and fuels. Their proprietary advanced gasification technology produces a clean hydrogen-rich gas which will later this year be providing electricity for 4,000 local homes in the West Midlands through their Sustainable Energy Centre.


Their modular system offers a lower cost, on-site waste treatment for client sites as well as provision of sustainable energy or related chemical products. For example, they could safely convert clinical waste (as well as other conventional non-recyclable waste) from hospitals into energy, supplying hydrogen-rich gas to existing CHP engines for low-cost site-wide power and heat, avoiding the costs typically associated with traditional high-cost methods of disposal.


Similarly, they can help local authorities avoid paying high gate-fees to large out-of-town incinerators by implementing a more circular-economy approach, with waste being used locally to provide power and heat into local networks. They also see great potential in partnering with industrial facilities in the Northern PowerHouse region who require multi-vector solutions including power, high-temperature and medium-temperature heat and also Hydrogen as a chemical feedstock.

Nova Pangaea – Pioneering a sustainable future

Nova Pangaea provides a proven, commercial patented and proprietary clean technology, at scale, that makes the best use of a variety of non-food plant residues. Their REFNOVA process converts these residues into sugars for biofuels and valuable chemicals, with significant greenhouse gas savings.


They have recently completed a large demonstration plant at Wilton on Teesside, with an input capability of up to 50 tonnes of green biomass per day. They are earning revenues and gaining traction with a number of UK and international companies seeking to process their plant residues or use high-purity products (mainly C5 and C6 sugars and a high purity carbon char).


So far, the company leveraged more than £13m investment through private investors and a large grant from the Department for Transport, as winners of their Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition in 2015. As the next step, Nova Pangaea would like to attract potential collaborators in the chemical sector who are interested in working with us to develop the downstream market opportunities for our C5 (mainly xylose) and C6 (mainly glucose) sugars and also their high-value product, levoglucosan.

Poseidon Plastics – Bringing an end to single use plastics

Poseidon Plastics is a high-tech speciality chemical company focused on solving one of the largest problems facing the world today – how to deal with waste polyester/plastic in an environmentally friendly and cost effective manner.


With their proprietary consumer/industrial waste to polyester technology, they can process waste polyester products, such as bottles, trays, fabric and films and convert it directly into the Polyester (PET) precursor – a molecule referred to as BHET Рwhich is a drop-in- replacement for the virgin feedstock for PET manufacture, thus creating a circular economy for this important product. Their technology can produce BHET at a similar price to the cost of feedstock for virgin PET.


Poseidon is working in collaboration with DuPont Teijin Films and another large PET producer in Teesside to fast-track this development. The intention of the venture is for Poseidon to build the first 10,000 tpa plant as owner and operator, and then licence the technology to their commercial partners, to build and operate their own plants at much larger scale (circa 50-100 ktpa), and subsequently export/license the technology globally.


In the longer term, Poseidon Plastics sees this emerging technology playing a major role in plastics recycling hubs across the UK and around the world. They are currently looking for investment to fund the construction of the plant at Teesside, that will create around 300 jobs, and once operational, it will employ around 100 direct posts on the plant.

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