28 Jun 2017
University of the West of Scotland's Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Hydroklear Services Limited has been declared a success.
The two year project was awarded the highest grade of 'Outstanding' by the KTP Grading Panel for its achievement in meeting KTP's objectives.
Hydroklear, which provide solutions for water treatment equipment and services, has for a long time been keen to develop a novel process for dealing with a difficult environmental issue within the Scottish whisky industry.
Many tonnes of valuable copper are eroded from the copper stills whilst making whisky. With such a large loss escaping into the environment, this not only is financially unacceptable, but crucially it also creates huge possible danger to the precious ecology.
Numerous process methods available today merely trap the copper in another guise, without necessarily removing the risk, and therefore do not offer a viable opportunity to recover the valuable copper for reuse, thus creating a circular economy and truly green solution. With these losses of copper on an ongoing basis, the replacement copper needs to be mined and processed before being shipped to the UK. This has an additional cost to the environment.
This KTP partnership was established to assist Hydroklear to develop a novel zero waste process for the removal of metal ions from distillery waste water.
Ken McCormick, owner of Hydroklear Services Limited, said: 'The technical challenges from the onset of this partnership project were met by introducing an academic dimension to the aspirations of the company's management team. With that challenge overcome we were delighted by sharing our commercial acumen to help develop our Associate's industrial experience and management skills. This is on top of our collaborative works with UWS and helping to cement our industrial/academic ties.'
Professor Andrew Hursthouse, Assistant Dean (Research & Enterprise) of the School of Science and Sport, who played a key role in this KTP, said: 'This was a challenging and extremely interesting project to be involved in and the outcomes will not just result in significant economic benefits for the whisky industry but will also have a positive impact on the environment.'
Part-funded by Government organisations led by Innovate UK, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships involve the forming of a partnership between a company and an academic institute, enabling a company to access skills and expertise to help them develop. The partnership also involves one or more high-calibre graduates (known as Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associates) to facilitate this transfer of skills and expertise. The Associate works within the company on a project central to the company's needs and is jointly supervised by company personnel and a senior academic.
Johnny Mone, Head of Enterprise and Employer Engagement at UWS, said: 'The University has a wealth of research and knowledge exchange expertise and was delighted to have worked with Hydroklear on this hugely successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership.
'UWS is one of the most active knowledge transfer higher education institutions in Scotland, making the University a top performer in providing knowledge transfer services to industry.'