Ta… for the char?

Char? What is it? Biochar is a valuable by-product from the gasification of wood or woody biomass. Modular gasification is now proven as a clean and very efficient method of […]

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By Freddie Rand

Char? What is it?

Biochar is a valuable by-product from the gasification of wood or woody biomass. Modular gasification is now proven as a clean and very efficient method of converting combustible materials into CHP, with Refgas Ltd leading the way in modular “Plug & Play” systems for industry.

With installations capable of generating as little as 1MWe or as much as 20MWe, as well as oodles of recovered heat used for producing hot water, steam or even providing cooling and chilling, these systems can save energy-hungry clients fortunes, as well as providing security of supply… for when the lights go out!

However, unlike combustion and incineration plants, these systems do not produce a residual ash but instead they generate a carbon-rich biochar or granular charcoal. This material, itself, has a high calorific value and depending upon quality, it may be used or sold into a variety of markets.

With biochar production rates ranging from 5% to 10% of the incoming feedstock, that’s a lot of potential profit available – from a RESIDUE!

More power

With a CV of ~ 25 MJ kg, the char makes a great fuel for combusting in a secondary process or selling into the marketplace. Opportunities exist for bulk sales to large energy users or further processing to produce briquettes for the household fuel market.

Agriculture and horticulture

Using biochar as a soil amendment material has been known for centuries and its value can be substantial as a soil enhancer. This is reflected in the high price paid for many biochar products.

Carbon sequestration

Like coal, biochar can sequester carbon in the soil for hundreds or thousands of years, avoiding the production of greenhouse gases, whilst at the same time improving water quality, increasing soil fertility and raising agricultural productivity.

Activated carbon production

Activated carbon is used in air purification, decaffeination, gold purification, metal extraction, water purification, medicine, sewage treatment, air filters in gas masks and respirators, filters in compressed air and many other applications.

Dependent upon the original feedstock used, basic biochar may be able to be converted to this valuable commodity, with worldwide markets.

Not bad…when it’s a by-product!

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