The new zero-emissions fuel made from mankind's most common byproduct
Author: Liam Taylor
A Spanish business has created an innovative and sustainable alternative to coal, and it’s made out of human sewage.
Valencia-based Ingelia has developed a biocarbon product called ‘biochar’ out of human sewage waste that gives off zero carbon emissions when burnt as well as significantly lower rates of other harmful substances such as sulphur, nitrogen and chlorine. This biochar also has high calorific value, low humidity and high performance when combusted, making it an excellent alternative to greenhouse gas intensive coal.
The technology not only offers an alternative to burning coal for energy, but also a more sustainable solution for sewage treatment generally. In Europe it’s currently the norm for sewage to be treated with a standard composting requiring 30 days of energy and maintenance.
In contrast, the process of ‘hydrothermal carbonization’ employed by Ingelia takes just six to eight hours to complete and results in hard, dry pellets of fuel. Sewage is the feedstock of choice due to its high carbon content, however the company can also recycle other forms of biowaste such as food and garden waste into biochar.
Other potential applications for the biochar product are also being explored, including using the pellets to charge batteries, produce certain plastics or biopolymers and even as substitutes for peat in soil enrichment.
The company is currently in negotiations with a number of Spanish waste facilities to implement the process, whilst plants in Italy and the UK are already processing thousands of tons of waste in this way. Ingelia’s CEO Marisa Hernández believes the company could be diverting half a million tons of carbon from the atmosphere by 2022.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Author: Liam TaylorLiam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.
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