State of Baden-Württemberg supports a research project for the production of bioactive carbon from renewable raw materials
Joint press release by carbonauten GmbH and the University of Hohenheim
Giengen. 25.01.2022 – Producing bioactive carbon from renewable raw materials and meeting the necessary energy requirements in a climate-neutral manner – this is the goal of a joint research project of carbonauten GmbH and the Department of Conversion Technologies of Renewable Raw Materials at the University of Hohenheim. After the approval of the funding by the Bioeconomy Innovation and Investment Program for Rural Areas (BIPL BW) of the Ministry of Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg in December 2021, the two-year research project is now starting. As a result, a plant module is to be created with which biocarbons obtained from bioresidue can be activated by steam. The basis for this is carbonaut’s minus CO2 technology: Carbonation plants convert bioresidue into biocarbons, which permanently binds CO2 from the atmosphere and creates a surplus of renewable energy.
“The demand for activated carbon as an adsorbent for chemicals and medicine, wastewater and exhaust gas treatment or air conditioning technology is constantly increasing,” explains Torsten Becker, managing director of carbonauten. “But so far, it’s usually created from fossil fuels, and the processes require large amounts of energy, also mostly from fossil sources. China is the world’s largest manufacturer, predominantly using environmentally unfriendly processes. We are convinced that our system is more ecologically sustainable and economical. We are therefore pleased to prove that in our largest research project to date together with the University of Hohenheim.”
In the first step, a research group from the Department of Conversion Technologies of Renewable Resources at the University of Hohenheim, headed by Prof. Dr. Andrea Kruse, and in collaboration with carbonauten, is creating small prototype retorts. These are reactors in which steam and heat are to act as uniformly as possible on the coal in order to activate it. The optimum type of biomass as a basis for the activated carbon is also determined in the process.
In the next step, the carbonauts will construct a prototype in 1:1 format at their pilot site in Eberswalde. Their carbonation plants provide the technological basis, and the energy requirements of the activation retorts are covered by the energy surplus from the carbonation of bioresidue – all in all, a process that is not only climate-neutral, but even CO2-negative thanks to carbonauten’s underlying minus CO2 technology.
Becker explains: “Our strategic goal is to set up decentralized plants for the production of bioactivated carbon in Baden-Württemberg as soon as possible, which will make regional use of regionally produced biomass residual flows in the sense of a circular bioeconomy. The production of bioactivated carbon removes carbon from biomass from the carbon cycle for a long time. The replacement of fossil activated carbon saves CO2 emissions and prevents environmentally problematic production. It also creates new sources of income in rural areas.”
The cooperation is also an important step for Prof. Dr. Andrea Kruse: “We have been working on the production of activated carbons and high-performance carbons for many years. We also want to bring this knowledge into application. The carbonauts are particularly interesting for us as a partner because they build compact and modularly expandable plants and represent a decentralized concept. In the bioeconomy, it is important that transport distances are short, but that the plants do not become expensive due to their size (economy of scale). This requires new technologies, and the carbonauts have developed a particularly good one.”