Ingelia is a world leader in the innovative Hydrothermal Carbonisation (HTC) process that carbonises wet biomass to produce biocoal, which can be used as a replacement for existing solid fuels. Their proprietary HTC process has been developed over a number of years at an industrial pilot plant in Valencia. Ingelia in in the process of increasing production capacity. HTC technology can be applied to any type of organic residue, regardless of its moisture content. Examples of feedstock carbonised by the HTC process include food waste, agricultural waste digestate and sewage sludge. The biocoal produced from the process can be briquetted or pelletised to create a solid fuel for use in both the domestic heating market and thermal energy
CPL Industries group is the largest manufacturer of solid fuels in Europe with production capacity in excess of 300,000 tonnes per annum. It is the leading distributor of solid fuel products in the UK, handling over 500,000 tonnes per annum, with the vast majority used in the domestic heating market. CPL’s strategy of innovation and new product development has led to a partnership with Ingelia, with an aim to promote HTC technology and the use of biocoal as a green and renewable fuel.
Hydrothermal Carbonisation (HTC) produces biocoal, water and biochemicals from a range of biomass and organic sources in a high pressure process at 200° C. It replicates the natural process of coal formation, but takes a few hours instead of millions of years.
Which waste feedstocks can be used in the process?
HTC is suitable for biomass feedstocks at all levels of humidity, giving it an advantage over other torrefaction and carbonisation technologies which use a purely thermal process. The process itself takes place in a water solution, which makes it ideally suited to organic residues and biomass feedstocks with high humidity. This includes garden waste, sewage sludge and food waste. The process has also been tested with digestate, a by-product from the anaerobic digestion (AD) process and the organic fraction from MSW. Currently most wet waste is taken to landfill sites, where it is composted or incinerated. The HTC process offers a value added alternative to composting and benefits from being a zero waste process.
HTC technology offers a unique opportunity to waste managers and producers by producing a value-added green product from a zero waste
Solution for Industries
HTC offers a solution for firms that produce humid waste (e.g. food and drink industry). Whilst AD produces CO2 and the waste digestat, HTC creates only biocoal, water and biochemicals. Plants can be built on a relatively small footprint on the existing sites of waste producers. The plants can be operated remotely, resulting in efficiencies and limited additional operating expense.
Local authorities / Waste management firms
For local authorities, HTC technology presents an alternative to composting, landfilling, or incineration for a wide variety of waste feedstocks.
The traditional composting is inefficient in comparision to HTC and generally produces a non value added product, in addition to requiring a large site. It retains a small percentage of the initial carbon, with the remainder released into the atmosphere as CO2 or methane gasses. The HTC process emits neither CO2 or any other toxic waste and provides a substitute for fossil coal in the production of heat and power.
Biocoal - A growing market
Across Europe governments are legislating to provide support to renewable fuels and also to make traditional solid fuels more expensive. Both France and Ireland have introduced a carbon tax which by 2016 will add EUR 65 and EUR 60 to a tonne of bituminous coal. As a renewable fuel biocoal would not be subject to carbon tax.
The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme in the UK has seen the market for wood pellets grow at 50% per annum over the past 3 years. When pelletised, biocoal is more energy dense than wood pellets, and also provides a greater heat output.
Ingelia continues to be interested in discussions with waste producers on materials suitable for use in HTC process and the potential for building partnerships.