The Knowledge Transfer Partnership.
NuGreen secures funding to develop new products using treated NHS healthcare waste
NuGreen and Leeds Becket University have secured Government funding to develop and commercialise innovative new products utilising repurposed healthcare waste
The team will begin by exploring ways to commercialise the output from treated, sterilised clinical waste, known as Floc. This material is in demand for use in civil engineering as a low-carbon aggregate substitute.
Clare Atkinson, Founder of NuGreen said: “The opportunity to divert high volumes of healthcare waste from incineration and transform it into a valuable, low carbon construction material - that replaces the use of a finite resource such as sand - is the future we see. Healthcare waste incineration contributes to poor air quality, increasing the strain on NHS resources by impacting respiratory health - this is a cycle we want to break. The opportunity for healthcare to be at the forefront of a lower carbon future is vital to drive the global shift required for true connectivity, progress, and sustainability.”
“The NHS produces an estimated 156,000 tonnes of clinical waste per year with disposal costs of around £700million per year - largely through waste management contracts that end in incineration or landfill, both of which are harmful to the environment.”
The project, known as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), is partly funded by the Government through Innovate UK and input from NuGreen and Leeds Becket University. The KTP aims to create long-term innovation and new product development capabilities for NuGreen, it also looks to create new commercial pathways for NuGreen to develop, test and commercialise products in new sectors.
Dr Ash Ahmed, Reader in Civil Engineering Materials Science in the School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing at Leeds Beckett University, is leading the project. He explained: “This innovative opportunity to process and utilise healthcare waste - particularly NHS waste - to create new products, has multiple benefits: reducing costs to the healthcare sector, reducing the emissions from the disposal of healthcare waste, and reducing the drain on dwindling natural resources such as sand. Sand suitable for construction is a finite resource and there is pressure to create more sustainable supply chains to preserve this valuable commodity for future generations.
The market for aggregate replacements is very large. The worldwide construction industry consumes 25-30 billion tonnes of sand per year and the cost of aggregates is increasing.
The use of healthcare waste is challenging due to the regulations surrounding disposal being strictly controlled by the Environment Agency. Construction materials are also highly regulated meaning rigorous testing for the floc will be required to meet British standards for commercial use.
NuGreen will look to develop and commercialise further products using other forms of healthcare waste such as silicon through the project and beyond.
Rufus Henderson, Project Manager for NuGreen - expert in sustainable healthcare, waste management and data analysis, will lead the project for NuGreen. He said “I am really looking forward to bringing this innovation to the Northwest and helping the area decarbonise through the diversion of waste from incineration and creating value for 'waste' materials. The waste and construction industries are both heavy emitters, and it is exciting to be a part of helping them reach Net Zero.”
Professor Silke Machold, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Leeds Beckett University, said: “There is a very high level of innovation attached to this project that addresses the UK's Net Zero ambitions. It offers the potential for an agile solution to the healthcare sector – particularly the NHS – to manage and reduce their carbon footprint. At Leeds Beckett University, our School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing is an international leader in sustainability research. This includes research on retrofitting and net zero technologies in buildings conducted by our Leeds Sustainability Institute.”
For further details please contact Rufus Henderson at 07939871302 or email using [email protected]
NuGreen is a research-led, sustainability consultancy that was born from the desire to reduce the amount of medical waste and create a circular healthcare system. A sister company of Q Medical, NuGreen is building sustainable frameworks throughout the UK that are designed to eliminate waste and maximise the use of products and materials within the healthcare sector, in December 2023, NuGreen became a Certified B Corporation.
About Leeds Beckett University
- Leeds Beckett University is a modern, professional-based university with a dedicated and diverse community. We work closely with employers and partners to help our graduates become ready for work, life and to seize all the opportunities that lie ahead.
- Our students and academics work together on research projects that have real-life impact, delivering social, economic and cultural benefit for the communities we serve. 53% of our research is ranked as world-leading or internationally excellent.
- The university has over 24,000 students in Leeds and 185,000 alumni worldwide.
- Leeds Beckett University is ranked 7th in the 2022 What Uni Student Choice Awards.
- The university is ranked in the top ten most successful universities in the UK for widening participation and ensuring higher education is accessible to people from all backgrounds.