Critical Processes was founded in 2003 and based on the research work of Tony Clifford and his colleagues at the University of Leeds in the UK, where he was Professor of Chemical Technology. This research was into clean methods using benign solvents, such as supercritical fluids and superheated water. The research group at Leeds was one of the largest in the UK specialising in green technology.
Having demonstrated the feasibility of doing chemical processes cleanly on a laboratory scale, we were keen to show that these were viable on an industrial scale. The mission of the company is therefore to transfer clean chemical technology to industry.
The way of doing this originally was to carry out contract work for larger companies to develop processes for them. In some cases the customer then wanted to carry out the process in their own premises. In these cases we sometimes assisted in designing plant and sometimes assembled the equipment for them. In other cases our customers wanted us to carry out the manufacturing for them on a toll basis, especially if the product is high-value and low-volume.
Having started as a contract research company, continuing the applied side of our university research, we have progressively moved into manufacturing.