SunCoal Industries develops, builds and operates facilities that refine organic waste into SunCoal biocoal with the patented CarboREN technology, based on hydrothermal carbonization, for use in generating bio-energy. SunCoal Industries focuses on two main customer segments, municipalities and industrial customers. SunCoal Industries offers municipalities the technology to take organic waste such as green waste, and refine it as biocoal. Industrial customers can benefit from the large-scale industrial production of biocoal, which can be co-fired in power plants to create energy or as a raw material for the industrial production of syngas and secondary products (biomass-to-liquid fuels). SunCoal biocoal can be used in existing power plants to produce heat and power, or can be further processed to produce syngas and its secondary products.
- Business Type:
- Industry Type:
- Waste and Recycling - Waste to Energy
- Market Focus:
- Internationally (various countries)
SunCoal Industries develops, builds and operates facilities that refine organic waste into SunCoal® biocoal with the patented CarboREN® technology, based on hydrothermal carbonization, for use in generating bio-energy.
The CarboREN technology, based on the principles of hydrothermal carbonization, utilizes green waste from municipalities (grass, leaves, etc.) or other organic waste from industrial processes (wood chips, bagasse, etc.) to produce dry and solid SunCoal biofuel, which has similar characteristics to dry brown coal. The CarboREN technology is extremely energy efficient, scalable and allows the use of a wide variety of organic materials.
SunCoal biocoal can be used in existing power plants to produce heat and power, or can be further processed to produce syngas and its secondary products.
SunCoal Industries focuses on two main customer segments, municipalities and industrial customers. SunCoal Industries offers municipalities the technology to take organic waste such as green waste, and refine it as biocoal. Industrial customers can benefit from the large-scale industrial production of biocoal, which can be co-fired in power plants to create energy or as a raw material for the industrial production of syngas and secondary products (biomass-to-liquid fuels).
SunCoal Industries is located in Ludwigsfelde, Brandenburg, about 20 km south of Berlin, Germany. A team of engineers, plant construction experts, chemists and business staff develop and carry out the CarboREN plant concepts and construction.
The SunCoal Industries success story began with the „re-discovery“ of the process of hydrothermal carbonization. Friedrich Bergius initially discovered the process at the beginning of the 20th century. He described the process of carbonizing biomass into coal in a matter of hours, which in nature would usually take millions of years. In order to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions, the founders of SunCoal started to work on their first attempts at hydrothermal carbonization at the Technical University in Berlin, Germany. They there laid the groundwork for the patented CarboREN® technology used today.
The reduction of harmful greenhouse gases from emissions is one of the most important problems facing our culture. Almost 80% of the worldwide energy requirements are met by energy sources such as crude oil, gas or coal. The burning of these fossil fuels releases not only CO2 into the atmosphere, but also nitrous oxide and particulate dust, all of which are damaging to the climate and environment.
The energy industry, as one of the main emitters of CO2 and other climate-damaging gases, plays an important role. The industry is currently in the midst of a structural overhaul to move away from fossil fuels and develop renewable energy sources.
Bio-energy can make an important contribution to this structural overhaul. In comparison to solar and wind energy sources, bio-energy has substantially lower production costs and can be used as needed. The use of biomass as an energy source only releases the CO2 that was absorbed in the plants during photosynthesis. If not used as an energy source, biomass would either rot or be used in compost, releasing the CO2 content without using the valuable energy.
Because of the heterogeneity of biomass, its use today is mostly limited to a few types (especially wood and energy crops planted for energy use). Much of the organic waste (for example, green waste) is not used as energy due to deficient technological solutions. Organic waste is especially interesting as an energy source since it does not compete with the production of food, as other alternative sources do. Herein lies an enormous potential. According to a study by Vattenfall AG and McKinsey in 2010, the potential of biomass as a main energy resource (not including food production) is estimated at 22,840 TWh by 2020.
SunCoal Industries has developed a solution with CarboREN® technology that, according to the principles of hydrothermal carbonization (HTC), produces biocoal from biomass, using existing processes and infrastructure to produce an efficient, cost-effective and climate-friendly energy source. The efficiency and climate-friendly CarboREN technology main advantages are the minimal amount of energy that is needed, that almost all of the organic material can be refined into fuel and that the water used is not gaseous but can be filtered in clean and fluid.
If the bio-coal is used at an existing co-firing plant and substitutes fossil coal, there are further advantages:
- There are many negative side effects for the environment and citizens from the mining of coal. Entire landscapes are currently used for mining, with the necessary cost to the population and the environment. Considering the long-term environmental and economic effects, the continued use of fossil fuels is not justifiable.
- In order to limit the amount of new investment needed and to continue to use the existing infrastructure of coal power plants, bio-coal can be burned in established power plants. This use of bio-coal can therefore bridge the gap until the structural changes in the energy industry have been completed.