An outward looking, collaborative approach underpins an innovation programme covering all development timescales.
Working together we share pre-competitive knowledge and risk in defining and developing innovative solutions to process and manufacturing challenges.
Britest participates extensively in national and international collaborative projects addressing medium to long term innovation challenges, whilst our members work with us on nearer-to-use aspects of the programme, gaining value from the effective, and accelerated deployment of the new approaches generated. We actively disseminate publicly available results of our collaborations and contribute to the scientific literature in our field through scientific and business publications.
Applicable across the process industries, most especially in core sectors like Pharmaceuticals, Fine Chemicals, Catalysis and Flavours and Fragrances, the Britest Tools have been well proven in all sorts of processes, but we continue to push the boundaries.
The focus has frequently been upon process improvement and cost reduction efforts such as de-bottlenecking and quality improvement, but our reach now extends into probing aspects such optimizing process changeovers and line stops, and visually understanding the relationships between critical to quality attributes on the one hand and process feedstocks and in-process controls and conditions on the other, the approach we term 'Property Mapping'.
Biotechnology offers new and exciting possibilities in cleaner, less impactful processes to obtain highly functional and valuable products which are often simply not accessible by conventional chemical routes. Biocatalysis, bioprocesses, and sustainable biofeedstocks obtained from plant-based and waste resources can be variously used to produce or modify speciality chemicals, advanced materials, and new medicines, and in routes to clean, green energy.
Many bioprocess innovations however face significant challenges on the way to achieving widespread adoption and critical scale. The gaps from successful proof of concept in the lab to demonstration and then commercialisation can be intimidating and leave entrepreneurs struggling to provider potential investors with robust evidence of commercial process capability and costs.
Developments in the Britest toolkit arising from several projects in recent years can help innovators take on board the difficulties of developing a viable business case for investment, and identify the risks and uncertainties associated with key techno-economic parameters (reflecting efficiency, quality, environmental sustainability, social impact, resilience, and supply chain) especially for early TRL offerings.
In a recent UK collaboration, Levwave, Britest road tested an understanding-based methodology for setting commercialisation objectives on an innovative route to obtain a platform chemical from lignocellulosic wastes in the paper industry, and we are keen to extend the approach to other early-stage projects facing the twin challenges of of limited data availability and proliferating sources of uncertainty.
Digitalisation (as opposed to straightforward 'digitisation' of data records) is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business. The chemicals and chemical-using industries are in the midst of a profound change with respect to digitalisation, but this is a process not an event.
Britest has demonstrated in collaboration with the pharmaceuticals industry how our approach can be applied to to enhancing advanced, data driven process design, modelling and control strategies through its abilities to generate mechanistic understanding of physical, chemical and biochemical processes. The opportunities include
The transition to a circular economy is a cornerstone of national and international responses to the threat of climate change and the ambition to establish a fair, sustainable, and prosperous future. The EU's Circular Economy Action Plan is one of the main building blocks of the European Green Deal, Europe’s new agenda for sustainable growth. The transition to a circular economy will reduce pressure on natural resources, create sustainable growth and jobs, and is seen as a prerequisite to achieve the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality target and to halt biodiversity loss.
We continue to expand and enhance the capacity of the Britest toolkit to deal with the "big picture" thinking required to understand value flows in the circular economy, for example introducing the concept of the Supply Chain Definition Diagram to visualise often complex interrelations and dependencies across time and space.
We have also innovated in the use of a variety of driver prompts for sustainability indicators to ensure that tools like the Britest Process Definition Diagram keep critical material and energy flows to the fore. Our involvement in projects like the EU MultiCycle circular plastics project has given us experience in capturing and communicating the key features and results of projects advancing new circular economy enabling technologies, and creating accessible educational resources from complex technical research results.
To help industry reduce the risks associated with the implementation of emerging technologies.
To optimise how individual tools are combined into holistic studies.
Manufacturing process must be viewed as a part of the supply chain and not in isolation. We are increasingly interested in evolving the Britest tools to investigate whole supply and value chain aspects, and in developing linkages with aspects of Process Intensification and Product Design.
Recycled doesn't mean sustainable. Green doesn't necessarily mean good. Both new materials developed as a result of the sustainability agenda and green routes to existing materials need to be understood holistically - what are the impacts and what are the benefits for people, planet and profit? Britest is looking to facilitate the necessary complex conversations in innovative ways.
Whole process design has always been a touchstone for Britest. We seek to develop and modify tools and methodologies specifically for continuous and other process intensification strategies, including measurement, control and supply chain effects.
The Britest Tools have been used successfully in early-stage hazard studies and hazard / safety prompts now form part of our expanding armory of conceptual process design annotations.
Britest tools can be brought to bear at the design stage with specific focus on quality characteristics and sustainability implications.
The parallels between food and beverage manufacture and our heartland chemical-using industries in equipment and processes are strong, e.g. powder and liquid transfer, mixing, drying, calcination (baking), hydrothermal processing (steaming), filling, and freezing – so the tools to understand them better are ideally suited to transfer into this area.
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