Advantage – Climate


The impact of an industrial scale application of HTC on the climate is multifaceted. Several scenarios are possible. The best and most realistic setup will be identified and evaluated throughout this project.


SunCoal can serve as a CO2 neutral substitute for fossil coal in conventional large-scale power plants. Even fresh biomass resources with high moisture content can be utilized efficiently without any previous drying step. However, such biomass types are not cost-efficient with any currently established technologies. As the approach is highly flexible with respect to the applicable biomass feedstock, many energy crops and products from short rotation forestry are suitable and can be converted in a highly efficient manner. In preventing green house gasses, especially waste biomass resources from agriculture and forestry play a key role. Currently, these resources are not or only barely being used. Instead, they are allowed to produce greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide through the natural decay processes. Hence, the valorisation of such materials would not only stop the useless CO2 generation by putrefaction but also produce a high quality energy carrier.


By burning the SunCoal, only that amount of CO2 which was trapped in the plants by means of photosynthesis is released, making the HTC product a perfectly climate neutral energy carrier of the future. Therefore, the purchase of CO2-certificates for burning SunCoal by power plant operators is not required. Technically, following this concept also allows for the additional separation and storage (CSS) of the CO2 produced resulting effectively in negative emissions. In other words, the atmosphere will have detracted net emissions. A separation and sequestration of emissions from burning SunCoal is no longer required, nor is the purchase of CO2-certificates for the power plant operator.


Furthermore, SunCoal allows for straight synthesis gas production. Through Fischer-Tropsch-Synthesis, tailor-made synthetic 2nd generation bio-fuels (BtL or Biomass to Liquid) can be produced. By means of the HTC-conversion, even the broad resources of different low-value waste biomass streams can be made accessible, resulting in a considerable contribution to the waste management of the government, which is in complete accordance with the SET-Plans of the European Commission.


The successful project will provide a better understanding of renewable biomass and biowaste utilisation by innovative energy conversion technologies and will help making a large volume of sustainable fossil coal substitute from an abundant supply of biowaste.


Moreover, SunCoal can be seen as a stable and inert solid carbon material which can be stored in the ground over a long period of time without releasing any environmental degradation products such as CO2. Due to the very high carbon conversion efficiency (>95%) from the source material and a fundamentally increased specific density of the product, the HTC-conversion is ideally suitable to from an inert carbon sink in the ground without the requirement of high pressure storage cavities and the respective high-tech applications.