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Clean technology

13 Mar, 2014

Clean-tech company CarbonScape has developed and patented microwave technology to convert biomass into high-value carbon products, including activated carbon and coking fuel known as green coke.

Listen to audio: Clean technology

Duration: 12:23

Veronica Meduna visits Blenheim-based CarbonScape to find out about the process they use to extract wood components from biomass from the forestry industry, including valuable gas byproducts. The current focus is on using offcuts from the harvesting process, which represents about 20% of the biomass in the industry and is otherwise discarded as waste.

Using microwave technology to pretreat the wood

CarbonScape uses a pretreatment process to extract various components from the woody biomass. They use microwave technology to heat the wood to around 700° with equipment they call Zippybling. Chief Technical Officer Greg Connor explains the bling comes from its shiny metal casing and zippy refers to the household Zip microwave that inspired the process.

CarbonScape designs pilot plant to supply green coke to New Zealand Steel

Currently, the CarbonScape team is designing a pilot plant to scale up from the batch reactor to a continuous system in order to supply green coke to New Zealand Steel. New Zealand Steel is the sole producer of flat rolled steel products in New Zealand for the building and agricultural industries. They will use it as a substitute for fossil carbon in their steel-making operation at Glenbrook to help reduce pollution and carbon emissions.

Get news story: Green coke to be used in steel making

Get Radio NZ audio: Fixing carbon

Programme details: Our Changing World

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