Hosted by the Eigenbetrieb Umwelttechnik of the city of Baden-Baden, Q21 and UNI KASSEL; RE-DIRECT’s German partners, the event brought together over 75 attendees from around Germany including international expertise and regional and national stakeholders in addition to the European partners from the project and a selection of stakeholders from their regions. A short film of the conference can be found here.
The conference outlined the development of the RE-DIRECT approach to marginal biomass use and the Eigenbetrieb Umwelttechnik of Baden Baden’s vision to utilise biomass from the municipality to be converted into biochar and activated carbon for use in the waste water treatment process. These are charcoal-like materials that are very porous with large internal surface areas and a high capacity to adsorb contaminants. This makes them useful for a wide variety of applications ranging from waste water treatment to soil amendment and remediation, to gas cleaning, to an array of agricultural uses. The innovative pyrolysis technology can also produce a clean renewable fuel.
The utilisation of advanced carbon products in agriculture is not a new concept as Dr Nikolas Hagemann from the Ithaka Institute for Carbon Studies explained. The first recording of biochar use as an animal feed additive, composting agent and fertilizer binding agent is in a Brief Compend of American Agriculture from 1847 by R.L. Allen. These concepts form the basis of some of the trials being conducted in Wales by Severn Wye Energy Agency and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, who are looking at the impacts of using biochar in animal feed, as a slurry additive and as an additive to anaerobic digestion.
A site visit was arranged to the Baden Baden Waste Water Treatment plant where PYREG demonstrated their innovative A750 pyrolysis and activation machinery. The machine has produced activated carbon from Cherry stones, Olive stones, Miscanthus and the municipality’s green waste press cake. PYREG work with clients to develop full scale plant designs for a variety of industrial sectors who utilise activated carbon in their processes and feedstock. Numerous RE-DIRECT Partners and stakeholders from across Europe took part in the visit including Severn Wye Energy Agency, Welsh Water, TerrAffix Soil Solutions Ltd®, IBERS, Cwm Harry Land Trust, Association d'Initiative locales pour l'Energie et Environment, Pronatura, IrBEA and WDC. With thanks to Bernhard Schafer for the tour of their facilities.
The 11 project partners in Belgium, UK, France, Germany and Ireland will receive €3.2m from the EU Interreg NWE programme over 3 years. The technology has been developed at the Baden-Baden City’s Environmental Division in Germany and a 20,000 t/year plant will be built in Wales, with business plans and raw material testing carried out for all partner regions.
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