A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Abertay University and a historic fishing net manufacturer has made it through to the final of the Innovate UK KTP Awards 2022.
The University partnered with W&J Knox Ltd to conduct research and development into how protein and oil could be salvaged from the waste material obtained during the aquaculture net washing process, then be reused.
With more than 240 years of supplying nets to both the Scottish fishing fleet and the growing aquaculture sector behind it, the Ayrshire company is an industry leader and this project was the first of its kind in Scotland.
Instead of being sent to landfill, salvaged protein and oil from the waste material can be turned into livestock feed for the likes of fish, pigs and chickens.
The KTP project aimed to develop industrial processes to extract protein and oil from the waste material which could then be sold on, helping reduce waste whilst working towards a circular economy.
Through Innovate UK grant funding, Abertay University employed a researcher to investigate how the useful materials could be extracted from the waste produced from the net washing process at W & J Knox’s manufacturing and servicing facility based in Kilbirnie.
The venture was one of five KTP projects from 2018 where Abertay worked with industrial partners.
Interface connected W&J Knox Ltd to Abertay University initially for a feasibility study to analyse the waste product and its potential use.
The project has been listed as a finalist in the ‘Changing the World Award’ category and winners will be announced at a ceremony in Liverpool on 12th October.
The award comes as several of Abertay University’s impact projects were classed as ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world leading’ in the Research Excellence Framework 2021 – the UK Higher Education sector’s barometer for research quality.
Principal investigator on the partnership, Dr Boon-Seang Chu from the Division of Engineering and Food Science said: “ I’m absolutely delighted that the KTP has been recognised as being a finalist for the Changing the World Award. It’s an excellent outcome for the project.
“The project aligned well with the Scottish Government’s goal of reducing the amount of waste going to landfill to 5% in 2025
“Now this project is complete and the researcher working on the project is the Innovation Manager of the company, W&J Knox Ltd is in a much better place to continue to monitor and develop methods for minimising their waste, and to create products from their waste whilst boosting company profits.”
Simon Bright, Abertay’s Head of Research Services said: “Over the last five years, Abertay has increased its participation of KTPs; which are an essential part of regional and national strategies to promote economic growth.
“Projects like this partnership show our continued commitment to helping tackle real world problems.
“I’m thrilled our KTP with W&J Knox has been recognised by Innovate UK with an award, and on behalf of the University I’d like to congratulate all of the nominees and wish everyone the best of luck.”
Dave Hutchens, Managing Director at W&J Knox Ltd said” This has been a great collaboration to have been part of, utilising the expertise of the Engineering and food science department at Abertay to identify and develop methods which can enable us to process our waste into potentially valuable products.
The project was lucky to have identified a bright young chemical engineer who we have now employed to continue developing this further along with other areas within the business.”