Written on
February 11, 2020

Northern Engineering Secures Share Of £1 million From DASA

Northern Engineering DASA Funding

A North East engineering firm has secured a share of £1 million to develop innovative technology that recycles waste aircraft oils and lubricants.

Northern Engineering Solutions is one of four to benefit from the funding awarded by The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) - on behalf of the Royal Air Force. In collaboration with Northumbria University, the company will be developing new technology to turn waste hydrocarbons into recyclable byproducts such as water, organic residue for fertilisers, and CO2. This will help save the Armed Forces money in waste charges whilst delivering environmentally-friendly byproducts.

Mark Davey, Director of Northern Engineering Solutions, said: "This is an incredibly proud moment for Northern Engineering Solutions, and we're excited to start working on this innovative project. As a business, we are passionate about developing solutions that can positively impact our environment."

Three universities from across the UK were also awarded contracts as part of this initiative. The funding was announced to an audience of more than 150 innovators from small and medium-sized businesses during the inaugural DASA Engagement Day at Cranfield University.

Working with scientists and innovators, we are determined to lead the way in decarbonising defence.

Defence Minister James Heappey said: "I am delighted to announce the winners of this important DASA competition who will work with great minds in the RAF to decarbonise our flying activities and help with the battle against climate change. Climate change is one of the greatest threats we face. Working with scientists and innovators, we are determined to lead the way in decarbonising defence.

"The contracts will build on the innovative concept of recycling waste hydrocarbons utilising microbes, which was developed by a small team from 47 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton. The team proved that waste oils and lubricants generated from servicing the Squadron's C-130 Hercules aircraft could be broken down using microbes by a process called bioprocessing. The team won the RAF 100 Engineering Competition in 2018 with their concept demonstrator, and the project was selected for further funding to develop the concept for the MOD."

Wg Cdr Nicholas Atkinson, Special Projects Officer at RAF Brize Norton, said: These innovations should provide a significant improvement in the way the MOD manages waste with the ability to use deployable bioprocessors on military or disaster relief operations. This technology also has the potential to save money for the military – and the taxpayer – in waste charges, as well as protecting the environment."

DASA Associate Delivery Manager, Katy Violet, said: "DASA is proud to be working with the RAF on this important work. Innovation isn't just about new kit, it is also about new and novel ways of doing things. The results from this funding have the potential to transform the way the Armed Forces deal with waste hydrocarbons in a green way while saving money."

As well as being used on military bases, it is intended the resulting technologies will be further developed into portable bioprocessing systems for overseas bases and operational deployments. This is the first joint competition run by DASA and the RAF.

DASA – the Ministry of Defence's innovation hub – finds and funds exploitable technology to give Her Majesty's Armed Forces and UK security a strategic advantage over adversaries while supporting the nation's prosperity.

DASA works with scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), academia, and industry to rapidly develop these new technologies.