Metal production contributes to about 10 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The industry currently depends on coal to fuel its energy-intensive processes, including using coke as a reducing agent.
An increasing global focus on reducing carbon emissions, new regulatory frameworks, financial penalties and shareholder activism are putting pressure on metal producers to reduce their dependence on coal and coke.
Charcoal is produced from the pyrolysis (high temperature decomposition) of organic material, and can be used instead of coal and coke for metal production. The main barrier is cost, as existing pyrolysis processes are limited in scale and often require feedstocks in a particular form.
Our self-sustaining slow pyrolysis process is auto-thermal, which means that material in the reactor is heated only by the heat of pyrolysis reactions and does not require additional heat in any form.
Our technology enables larger reactors and a wider range of biomass feedstocks, both of which lower the cost. The process also generates valuable by-products including bio-oil and bio-gas.
We have a pilot-scale facility capable of producing up to 1,000 tonnes of charcoal per year, as well as recovery of by-products for further processing offline.
- Iron and steel production: Charcoal is already used extensively in Brazil due to poor regional coal resources
- Silicon production: Charcoal offers superior reactivity and purity compared to coke. Producers therefore are prepared to pay a premium price for charcoal
- Activated carbon production: Charcoal is used in the production of superior activated carbon, which is suitable for removing impurities from waste water and emissions, such as removing mercury from emissions from coal power stations.
We have developed significant knowledge and expertise in reactor design and operation, and we hold patents on aspects of the self-sustaining pyrolysis process, which has been granted in multiple countries.
We have world-recognised expertise in developing new metallurgical processes, underpinned by a combination of capabilities in chemical engineering, equipment design and implementation, process modelling, pilot-plant commissioning and operation, techno-economic assessment and life-cycle analysis.