From Waste to Wealth: Danish Firm Transforms Poop into Green Gold with Biochar and Carbon Credits

"AquaGreen Secures $4.4 Million Investment to Expand Global Reach of Revolutionary Biomass Treatment Technology"

AquaGreen, a Danish engineering company, has secured $4.4 million in funding from Nordic Alpha Partners and Swedish FMG Circular Invest to bring its groundbreaking biomass treatment technology to the global market. FMG Circular Invest is a joint investment initiative between Feralco Group and its owner Mellby Gård, while AquaGreen also receives support from the Danish Workers Pension Fund (ATP). The company’s innovative technology plays a crucial role in reducing emissions and promoting a circular economy.

At the forefront of the circular economy, AquaGreen utilizes patented technology to transform biowastes into valuable resources. This includes converting biomass and waste, such as sewage sludge, into renewable energy, biochar, and activated carbon. The company collaborates closely with renowned universities, scientists, professors, and dedicated partners to develop its state-of-the-art technology, which has received various innovation awards. Ludovic Huitorel, co-CEO of Feralco Group, praised AquaGreen’s unique solution, stating that the company is well-positioned to meet the market’s demand for eliminating microplastics and medical residues in wet biomasses.

Wastewater treatment facilities currently face challenges in managing biowaste, with options including spreading it on farmlands, storing it, or burning it. However, these methods are expensive and harmful to the environment and climate. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) generate greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, during their operations, contributing to climate change. AquaGreen’s innovative technology offers a solution to this issue by eliminating harmful substances in biomass and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

AquaGreen’s biomass treatment technology revolutionizes waste management through its continuous, fully automated process. The integrated steam-drying and pyrolysis system utilizes the calorific content of waste to fuel its own system. This software-controlled system significantly reduces waste management costs, requiring minimal manpower for operation. Additionally, the system can be monitored remotely. The process not only transforms waste into valuable resources but also eliminates pollutants, cuts greenhouse gas emissions, and stores carbon dioxide in biochar. This contributes to environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, and generates revenue from waste.

The HECLA® technology developed by AquaGreen operates with an integrated steam dryer and pyrolysis system. Sewage sludge is steam-dried, and the remaining biomass is pyrolyzed in the absence of oxygen at 650°C. This process converts biomass into biochar, reducing or eliminating environmentally harmful substances. Essential nutrients and minerals, such as phosphorus, are preserved during the process, benefiting plants and animals. The technology also significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions by preventing sludge from dissolving and releasing greenhouse gases and by binding carbon dioxide into biochar. The system is self-sufficient and circular, as the gases produced during pyrolysis fuel both the steam drying and pyrolysis processes. The excess steam, condensed into hot water, can be used for district heating grids and other applications. A single AquaGreen HECLA® Setores 1,000 Plant can handle the waste from up to 75,000 individuals, achieving impressive climate-friendly results, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,800 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, producing 2,000 MWh of energy, and storing 500 tons of carbon in biochar. The resulting biochar is odorless and contains up to 6% plant-accessible phosphorus and other valuable nutrients.

AquaGreen’s HECLA® technology also enables the conversion of sewage sludge into biochar, which serves as an effective carbon sequestration method. Biochar produced at temperatures above 600°C has a high stable carbon content of above 90%. Studies indicate that biochar can sequester up to 2-3 tons of carbon per ton of applied biochar, offering long-term carbon mitigation when added to soil. Additionally, biochar improves soil quality by enhancing water retention, nutrient availability, and microbial activity. Companies or projects that sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through biochar are eligible to earn carbon credits, which are tradable in carbon markets. Each credit corresponds to the removal or reduction of one tonne of atmospheric carbon. AquaGreen’s HECLA® technology demonstrates its potential to provide sustainable wastewater management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Given the EU’s wastewater treatment requirements, approximately 5,000 HECLA® plants would be needed. This, combined with the climate benefits of AquaGreen’s technology, has attracted significant investment.

With AquaGreen’s innovative biomass treatment technology, waste management takes a significant step towards sustainability and climate action. By converting biowastes into valuable resources and sequestering carbon through biochar, the company contributes to climate change mitigation.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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