Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Paul Allan. I am an Environmental Project Officer for SLG Technology.
Can you explain the project you have received Challenge Funding for?
The project we received challenge funding for was to take end of life leather seat covers from aircraft, and turn these into energy in the form of heat which could be used to manufacture new leather seat covers, following the circular economy model. This project was a partnership between Scottish Leather Group, Ulster Shredders and University of the West of Scotland.
These seat covers would typically be sent to landfill, by processing the seat covers we were able to prevent them from entering landfill and capture energy from them to create new product, thus lowering the carbon footprint of the product at the start and end of its life.
We achieved this by gasifying the seat covers in our Thermal Energy Plant via pyrolysis, the seat covers were shredded to <30mm to increase efficiency of the gasification process.
Why do you believe the textiles industry needs the project you are working on?
This project is important to the textiles industry as it is a working example of the viability of the circular economy model in action.
What have you managed to achieve progress on since you were awarded the Challenge Fund?
With the help of the Challenge Fund: we successfully shredded, gasified and captured energy in the form of heat from end of life aircraft leather seat covers.
What impact has your project had, to date?
The biggest impact this project has achieved is proving the viability of the circular economy principle in the textiles industry. We also diverted a significant quantity of material from entering landfill and generated energy that was used for the creation of new products.
What does the future look like for your project? What are the next steps?
The project has proven viable and there now exists the potential for commercial arrangements for take back of end of life leather seat covers to generate energy for creation of new seat covers and avoidance of landfill.
Paul Allan interviewed by Kimberley White