EU project focuses on HTC processing of wet biomass

By Erin Voegele | December 13, 2013

German-based research firm ttz Bremerhaven recently announced the launch a research project that aims to find new applications for wet biomass materials. The project, named “New technological applications for wet biomass waste stream products,” or NEWAPP, focuses on the application of hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) processes to convert wet biomass into coal-like products. A total of eight partner organizations from four EU countries are collaborating on the 30-month project.

Spain-based Ingelia S.L. is one of the organizations participating in the initiative. The company has developed an HTC process. Information published by Ingelia notes its technology processes biomass at moderate temperatures and pressures in the presence of water, creating two primary products: a coal-like product named HTC carbon and a water phase rich in plant nutrients.

According to information released on the initiative, the NEWAPP project will begin by treating five wet biomass waste streams in Ingelia’s HTC plant, and then focus on developing a new technical utilization pathway for turning those biobased waste streams into high-value products.

The research group will also explore the different products that can be obtained from selected waste streams following the HTC process and develop quality and safety standards and techniques for the resulting products. Fuel, activated carbons for water treatment, soil remediation or carbon sequestration are some of the possible resulting products. Business plans for promising scenarios will also be developed as part of the project.

The European Biomass Industry Association is the coordinating organization for NEWAPP. In addition to Ingelia and ttz Bremerhaven, additional participating organizations include the Spanish National Research Council, the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management, the Federal Association of Secondary Raw Materials and Waste Management, the Technical University of Denmark, and Terra Preta.

The €2.58 million ($3.92 million) is supported by approximately €1.76 million in funding through the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union. Additional information on NEWAPP is available here.