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Chemical manufacturer discovers way to clear the air

Ashton-based chemical manufacturer Lankem has developed a new fuel additive that reduces dangerous emissions from diesel engines.

Ashton-based chemical manufacturer Lankem has developed a new fuel additive that reduces dangerous emissions from diesel engines. 

The company specialises in developing and manufacturing surfactants, which break down the interface between water and oils and dirt. 

Despite traditionally working within the agriculture, industrial cleaning and metal working sectors, Lankem identified that one of its commodities might affect harmful particulate emissions from diesel combustion. 

Particulates - very fine particles that are small enough to penetrate deep into the human body if inhaled - are linked to a wide range of health problems and are one of the reasons urban areas are taking measures to curb diesel emissions.

“This was a new area for us”, explained sales director, Sean Hodgkinson. “We knew we were onto something new, and were confident we had developed a product that could have a major impact on harmful emissions from diesel fuels, but we needed to test it and prove it.”

Lankem worked with innovation specialists at Greater Manchester’s GC Business Growth Hub, who connected the company to academics at the University of Manchester for a six-month research and testing project. 

Lankem was also given the opportunity to test the product in collaboration with the transport department at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council.

“As a result of the testing, we now have a much better understanding of the chemistry and impact of the fuel additive”, Sean Hodgkinson added. “It became clear that rather than using it in the automotive industry, it would be more effective used in larger engines, such as those used by ships and tankers. So, through the links we’ve made at the University of Manchester, we’re now working with experts at Southampton University, who have experience of shipping and marine technology.”

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