ITE commissions the ‘CIRCULAR CARBON’ plant, where sustainable activated carbon is produced from waste to promote the circular economy

El proyecto CIRCULAR CARBON tiene como objetivo el desarrollo y puesta en marcha de una planta piloto para el aprovechamiento de residuos valencianos, su transformación en carbones activados de alto valor añadido para aplicaciones en el sector de la energía, medioambiente y la economía circular

Waste production in different sectors is becoming a problem with serious environmental consequences, as well as economic consequences associated with waste management costs. In this context, the CIRCULAR CARBON project seeks to develop and commission a pilot plant to convert waste generated in Valencia into activated carbons with high added value for applications in the energy and environment sectors. The project is supported by the Instituto Valenciano de Competitividad Empresarial (Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness – IVACE), which operates under the auspices of the Regional Government of Valencia. The project consortium includes the Instituto Tecnológico de la Energía (Energy Technology Institute – ITE), acting as project coordinator and leader, and the Instituto Tecnológico de la Cerámica (Ceramics Technology Institute – ITC). This project represents an integrated solution within the framework of the Autonomous Community of Valencia’s commitment to the circular economy.

Context

Energy transformation in search of better and more efficient energy production, together with the circular economy initiatives promoted by institutions, is paving the way towards the use of waste produced in certain sectors as sources of energy or as raw materials for transformation into other products of high added value.

Waste production in different sectors has both environmental impacts, due to greenhouse gas emissions generally associated with the burning of this waste, and economic impacts, due to the additional costs incurred by the companies that produce it in the course of their business. These costs are associated with the management of the waste, which can be difficult and complex, as well as expensive.

For this reason, it is of great importance to explore alternative ways of transforming this waste into value-added products for applications in other sectors, such as the energy sector. The thermochemical transformation of agricultural waste, such as pruning waste, olive pits, almond shells, and forestry waste, such as sawdust or wood chips, to obtain value-added products is becoming increasingly widespread. However, these processes require a great deal of control and knowledge of each and every one of the variables involved in the different stages. This encompasses the source and properties of the waste to be treated, the conditions under which the transformation is carried out, as well as the characteristics of the carbon obtained. The aim is to adjust each and every one of these stages in accordance with the intended use of the end product.

Published in: Nº86 FuturENVIRO December 2021 – January 2022