Northern Engineering Solutions is helping the Royal Air Force (RAF) accelerate its journey to net zero by developing an innovative treatment system for waste jet fuel.
The process engineering firm based in North Shields is working with the RAF Innovation Fund and RAF Brize Norton on Project PICASSO – an effluent treatment system that uses bacteria to rapidly break down waste fuel for safe, sustainable and straightforward disposal or reuse.
Speaking about the project, Simon Taylor, Director of Northern Engineering Solutions, said: “One of the main challenges the RAF faces is the safe disposal of contaminated waste fuel, particularly during military operations overseas. The development and deployment of this new technology will ensure that waste fuel can be treated safely and sustainably on airfields worldwide.
“As an SME, we are extremely proud to be at the forefront of supporting the RAF’s journey to net zero. We are always looking at ways to create forward-thinking engineering solutions that can positively impact our planet.”
The system will support the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in tackling climate change and reducing environmental pollution by using naturally occurring micro-organisms to break down unused and waste hydrocarbons. A common byproduct of this process is carbon dioxide (CO₂), which is typically released into the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming. In this instance, the CO₂ is captured in a solid form that can be recycled.
Ultimately, the goal is to deploy the system to treat a range of waste oils and lubricants at the point of generation. This will simplify waste management during operations and enhance environmental stewardship.
Project PICASSO builds on a previous collaboration between Northern Engineering Solutions, Northumbria University and the RAF, which received funding from The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA).
Group Captain Maurice Dixon, RAF lead for Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability, said: “Project PICASSO is a valuable technology innovation that will simplify waste management on deployed operations, and move towards the RAF reducing its environmental impacts, meeting Government Greening Commitment targets on waste reduction, and delivering our climate change adaptation aims. The RAF’s Rapid Capability Office is a critical part, and excellent example, of how the RAF can work innovatively in collaboration with industry and academia, and the partnership with Northern Engineering and Northumbria University has been critical to Project PICASSO advancing in technology maturity.”
Northern Engineering Solutions specialises in mechanical, electrical and process engineering (MEP) solutions, with a particular focus on effluent treatment systems, high and ultra-high-purity process pipework, and cleanrooms. Clients include Pragmatic, CPI, Sterling Pharma, and De La Rue.