Carbonscape has developed and patented a process for converting low cost biomass (for example waste saw dust from timber processors) into valuable finished products using microwave technology.
Microwave technology is inherently very efficient at an industrial scale; the scale of the componentry involved and the automation systems available offer precise control with very limited wastage. Many process parameters can be adjusted in real time to alter the specification and quantity of product being produced. This provides remarkable flexibility and can be applied to optimise yields in accordance to market price fluctuations as well as tailor specific qualities within the finished product.
As an example, for the production of charcoal for green steel manufacturing, it is possible to control the carbon content and volatiles to achieve preferred specifications. To produce biochar, the process is run optimally to maximise charcoal carbon content and to control chemical pH effects.
A broad range of biomass feedstock can be processed and these typically consist of low cost waste biomass materials that would otherwise be discarded. The microwave technology allows for cost savings associated with cheaper raw materials and lower processing costs relative to conventional methods of producing products such as activated carbon.
For example, conventional non-microwave carbon activation processes are typically dependent on exotic feed stocks such as nut and husk shells or coal materials with associated procurement cost and pre-treatment overheads. The Carbonscape process, on the other hand, produces high quality activated carbon from low cost waste streams such as timber site residue. The use of timber sawdust also entails virtually no pre-treatments beyond sieve sorting on size.
Furthermore, microwave technology significantly reduces processing times within the reactor, saving equipment size, time and energy costs relative to conventional methods.