Vaccine Manufacturing

The limited availability of vaccines against influenza is often well documented, particularly during the winter months, and consequently the World Health Organisation sought to increase the global manufacturing capacity and advised the pharmaceutical companies to make appropriate provisions.

The Client was engaged to design, construct and commission a new manufacturing facility that could process a significantly increased batch size. The functional requirement represented around a 10-fold increase in the total number of eggs that could be sterilised, infected with the desired influenza strain, incubated and harvested and was far in excess of the capacity of any of the commercially available pharmaceutical grade process equipment. As part of this there was also a need to improve the environmental hygiene within the incubators beyond that which was commercially available.

These factors represent an appreciable technological advance that was required to develop a facility that complied with the WHO guidance for human vaccine production and could successfully process the required batch sizes. This project was demonstrated to be contain qualifying R&D from the outset through until completion of commissioning.

Energy from Waste Plant


A new electricity generation station was planned for construction in the east end of London. This plant was expected to generate up to 60MW of renewable electricity using a range of non-fossil fuels including biomass, waste wood and solid recovered fuel (SRF). The development was split into two phases, each with a capacity of 30MWe. The proposed fuel for the first phase was waste wood from the local area. Whilst the fuel for the second phase was expected to be waste derived from household, commercial and industrial waste.

During preliminary design the Client investigated grate combustion and the practical limits of uncooled grate designs and to what extent the performance envelope may be stretched without introducing risk of premature failure. Cooled grates add to overall house load and it follows that as the net generation is dependent on parasitic load exploring opportunities for reducing this parasitic demand and optimising site layout would be an integral part of determining the optimum grate output.

In a project of this nature, reliant on securing a financial return, it is often essential to complete significant elements of design early in order to demonstrate to potential investors that the technology risks are understood and can be managed. Whilst this project was still in the planning stage the work to develop the conceptual design was successfully demonstrated to be qualifying activity in accordance with the BIS Guidelines.

Flooding Project


A pilot study was commissioned to investigate how integrated urban drainage could provide a benefit to the way stakeholders manage the drainage problems within their catchment. A key element of the study was to understand the cause of flood risk within the catchment and to define a holistic approach to resolving the long standing flooding and water quality

This area of approximately 30km² with a population of 156,000 has suffered from numerous flooding incidents and water quality issues.  Despite three major flood alleviation schemes it continued to suffer from severe flooding.  The area was heavily urbanised and drained to the local watercourse, a separate surface water sewerage system and a foul sewerage system.

The project sought to understand the complex fluid dynamics of the interaction between rainfall, the river, and sewer flows and the relationship of these flows to the configuration of the sewer system. These interactions need to be fully understood in order to establish the root cause of the water quality issues and provide hypothetical solutions.

Having investigated this project with the Client and explored both the nature and extent of the work collectively necessary to resolve the technological uncertainties and achieve a technological advance we successfully demonstrated that the project qualified for relief under the Large Company scheme.

Touch Screen Digital Dashboard


The company developing and manufacturing a high performance vehicle had an aspiration to incorporate a state of the art communications system within for their latest model. They engaged a specialist to develop a completely touch screen digital dashboard that retained the functionality of the existing analogue dashboard and incorporated additional connectivity for modern communications devices, navigation systems and display technology. The resultant system had to be suitable for installation within a restricted space envelope as the original analogue dashboard, mounted directly behind the touch screen and present a completely intuitive interface.

Their knowledge of the development process, the cost of marketing and the successful vehicle pricing structures informed and influenced their stipulated acceptable costs that could be absorbed within the overall development costs. It was clear that development of the digital dashboard could only be considered successful if it satisfied the commercial requirements as well as the technical ones. Further, failure to meet the cost criteria would preclude the potential negotiation of a contract to supply production units for incorporation within the final vehicle.

The first prototype suffered with excessive noise pick up from the LCD screen and poor signal quality from the DAB reception module necessitating redesign of some aspects of the system. Subsequent iterations of design, analysis and testing demonstrated improved functionality and reliability. Working with the specialist supplier we were able to demonstrate that this project met the requirements of the BIS Guidelines and qualified for a tax credit under the SME R&D relief scheme.