19/06/2018 – News / Robotics / Climate Change / Petrochemicals / UK / Europe

World’s first robotic heat exchanger cleaning technology receives EU funding to reduce carbon emissions

UK-based fouling removal specialist, Tube Tech International, has received Horizon 2020 SME Instruments funding to develop the next generation of its patented Shell Side Jet™ solution, which will deliver the first ever technology guaranteed to remove fouling from the outside heat transfer surface of shell and tube exchangers.


Heat exchanger fouling is one of the biggest challenges in refinery operations around the world, resulting in billions of dollars in lost revenue every year and a negative, long-term impact on CO2 emissions.


Delivering world firsts


The SME Instrument is part of Horizon 2020 – the EU's funding programme for Research and Innovation, and the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness.


Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over a seven-year period to 2020 – in addition to the private investment the funding will attract. By funding market-creating innovation in disruptive small businesses that have significant growth potential and global ambitions, Horizon 2020 promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.


As part of the programme’s goal to radically reduce carbon emissions and achieve climate resilience by the second half of the century, Tube Tech’s Shell Side Jet™ solution has been granted funding in recognition of the benefits it can bring to the performance of the petrochemical industry and its environmental responsibility.


Meeting critical challenges


Henry Mwai, Project Manager for Tube Tech International, said, “It is a privilege to be part of the Horizon 2020 project, particularly given the competitiveness of the programme’s funding allocation. We are very grateful for the opportunity and support to develop and showcase Shell Side Jet™ and the difference it can make to critical cleaning challenges in a worldwide market.”


Shell Side Jet™ is the world’s first method to guarantee external tube surface fouling removal from heat exchangers to deliver design thermal efficiency, unparalleled cleanliness, improved profits, reduced CO2, improved safety, reduced downtime, robotic operation and simultaneous real-time inspection. During the project, Shell Side Jet™ robotic cleaning and inspection performance will be tested and verified in real environments on multiple locations on fouling levels of 60 per cent to 90 per cent and above.


With over 50 cleaning systems and almost 40 years’ multi-sector experience, Tube Tech International has become the global leader in research-led, fouling removal and inspection services. To support its rapid growth, the team has also received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME), that funds market-creating innovation in small businesses. According to Venture Radar, 25 per cent of the companies funded under the SME Instrument are among the 10 per cent fastest growing companies in Europe.


Henry continued, “The coaching and support we will have from the EASME will be invaluable in bringing our innovation to the market. We will be seeking advice on commercialisation, business development and operations to maximise our performance and further expand our business network.”

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