PlasCarb will involve a three year structured programme of work. It will deliver a pilot scale technology platform to valorise mixed food waste and facilitate future market uptake on a decentralised basis across Europe. The project will research and develop the transformation of biogas, generated by the anaerobic digestion of food waste, into RH2 and high value graphitic carbon. The project will be implemented via a series of Work Packages (WP):

WP 1: Management

Overall co-ordination and management of the project.

WP 2: Biogas Generation

Generate representative biogas from an AD process with a feedstock rate corresponding to 1800 tonnes mixed food waste p.a., noting seasonal CH4:CO2 variations and impurity levels versus seasonal input variations over 12 month period. Assess and incorporate an economically viable process to remove trace impurities from biogas to less than 4ppm H2S and less than 6ppm in total.

WP 3: Plasma Process

Optimise nozzle geometries and gas flows to enable optimal Carbon formation in WP5 from biogas using a 12kW microwave plasma reactor. To investigate the feasibility of employing twin stream plasma processing of pre-separated CH4 and CO2. To investigate the use of pre-separated CO2 to enhance the Carbon formation from the methane.

WP 4: Gas/Solid separation

Develop optimal process to separate the combined Carbon species from the gas stream output from WP3 and then the renewable hydrogen (RH2) from any other gases present.

WP 5: Carbon Formation

Develop a methodology whereby the appropriate size, shape and form of Carbon is generated by the integrated process. The desired form of carbon is graphitic rather than amorphous or glassy. The desired size and shape is that most appropriate to maximise the economic yield of Graphitic carbon, both in the synthesis and the separation processes.

WP 6: Process Integration

Integrate and optimise the outputs of WP2-5. This will involve the integration of the separate unit operations of process plant, along with appropriate process control. The control operations of the integrated plant will then be refined, to enable both local and remote monitoring and control.

WP 7: Pilot Trials

Operate integrated plant continuously for a period of at least one month transforming over 150 tonnes of mixed food waste into over 25 thousand m3 of biogas. 2400 m3 of this biogas will then be transformed into RH2 and highly graphitic Carbon, enabling economic validation to be undertaken as part of WP8 and demonstration to the research community, industry and the wider public in WP10.

WP 8: Economic Optimisation

Optimise the project results and the economics of all aspects of the technology to enable future market uptake. The Opex, Capex and revenues (determined by end user techno-economic validation of the RH2 and graphitic carbon produced in WP7) will be validated. An optimal business deployment strategy (size and localization) will be prepared. Financial mechanisms that can be applied to different regions of Europe will be selected.

WP 9: Sustainability

Verify the full environmental, economic & social viability of PlasCarb (WP2 to WP8) using a recognised LCA approach based on ISO14040/44 (2006). The net benefit compared with SoA food waste management and sustainable material supply will be validated. This will include an evaluation of the regional and political waste management strategies from across Europe. Technology development will be verified as being BAT using the EU Environmental Technology Verification pre-programme.

WP 10: Exploitation and dissemination

Protect project results and then disseminate results for maximum impact. Dissemination will include publicising project achievements via international industry seminars, scientific and technical papers, publications and conference proceedings and a dedicated open access web site. Dissemination activities will operate both during the project and for at least five years post-project the monitoring of the economic and environmental impacts of the project achievements.