Unlocking the hidden value in your waste
Industries producing waste biomass with a high-water content face growing challenges for safe and cost-effective disposal. And for many, a viable path to sustainability seems a long way off.
Whether plant matter, animal products or even manure, all biomasses contain carbon which was once absorbed from the atmosphere, and it is this crucial resource that is undervalued with methods of disposal which allow it to return there.
What type of biomass is suitable?
While most biomasses can be pyrolysed, the nature, quantity and structure of it will have an important impact on the operations and business model at a plant. Key qualities we look for are:
The higher the better, but in general being over 12 MJ/kg on a dry basis will keep the process self-sustaining.
After drying, we look for feedstocks to be under 15% moisture to keep the process efficient. The more moisture, the more drying needed, which will require more energy.
The more carbon, the more carbon removal and corresponding income from carbon credits. We usually look for upwards of 25%.
The minimum to make a plant viable is 2,400 tonnes per year after drying.
To ensure compliance with the carbon methodologies and receive carbon credits, the feedstock should not currently have an environmentally positive endpoint. If it does, that value can count against the new outcomes.
Examples of suitable biomass
Chicken manure typically applied as fertiliser
Oversize green waste, including whole tree, brash or compost tailings
By product of waste water treatment
Screen rejects during paper manufacturing
Hard protecting coverings of grains of rice
Horse and pig manure collected from farms
Residues from food and beverage manufacturing
Fibrous material left after processing sugarcane or beet
Fish manure produced from aquaculture
Hemp-derived by-products that are discarded during production
Residue generated after the coffee brewing process
Wood shavings, chippings and saw dust discarded during operations
Dairy processing waste that is unusable for human consumption or any other use
Outer shells that are a by-product from the oat-milling operation
Ash trees infected with Ash Dieback disease
Residue from Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant operations
Materials discarded during textile manufacturing
Residual liquid remaining from the fermentation and distillation of liquors
As an environmentally positive solution, it is important to consider the current uses of the biomass.
Ideal sources of biomass are currently destined for disposal or incineration. Using these ensures that we don't have any negative environmental, social or economic impacts on existing supply chains.
Biomass containing high protein, for example, may deliver more value if it returned to the food chain.
As a company that firmly believes in the principle of Triple Bottom Line (Planet, People, Profit), this choice ensures that we support profitable projects without doing injustice to the planet and its people.
Take a look at some of our projects to see what we're up to!
Find out more
Our Green Energy Hubs produce large amounts of excess heat which can be delivered as a fully sustainable, carbon negative energy source for your business.
Pyrolysis is the only practical and available carbon removal technology available today, and is a critical tool for the world's journey to Net Zero.
Biochar is a long-term store of carbon, and an effective soil additive improving plant yields and health. We are committed to producing it on a large scale to make a real difference in the fight against climate change.
What types of biomass is suitable for pyrolysis?
What goes into a pyrolysis plant and how does it work?
How does pyrolysis generate green energy?