AquaGreen has created growth on pyrolysis of sewage sludge

29. September 2022

A successful innovation project has been of great importance to AquaGreen, which today delivers wastewater solutions on several continents.

Sewage sludge from 50,000 citizens in Odsherred has gone from being an annual expense for the local supply to being a product that can be sold and demanded.

This is the result of the world’s first integrated steam drying and pyrolysis plant being able to convert the sludge into bio-coal and district heating. The energy from the sludge drives both steam drying and a pyrolysis process of 650 degrees and delivers such a clean and fine combustion that CO2 emissions are reduced and the end product in the form of phosphorus-containing biochar can be sold as fertilizer. In addition, the surplus heat from the plant can be used as district heating.

“In the past, we paid between one and a half and two million DKK annually to get rid of our sewage sludge; now we can sell it instead,” says Fanny Villadsen, CEO of Odsherred Forsyning.

Global visibility

This is good news in an increasingly climate-conscious world, and for AquaGreen – the company behind the innovative solution – it has attracted a lot of attention. AquaGreen developed the new combustion chamber together with Odsherred Forsyning and DTU through a 3-year programme supported by the Regional Fund and facilitated through Energy Cluster Denmark; a programme that has aimed to encourage more small and medium-sized enterprises to develop innovative products for energy optimisation.

It has certainly hit the spot for AquaGreen:

“We are receiving inquiries from all over the world at the moment,” says Henning Schmidt-Petersen, CEO of AquaGreen:

“We have already installed the new burners in Denmark and South Africa and are up and running in Sweden; has just won a tender to supply installations in Malaysia and Borneo; we are working on an offer for 11 plants for Saudi Arabia; is on the way with licensed production in China and is working on contract proposals from a customer in Australia,” he says.

From 5 to 31 employees

The interest has resulted in a significant growth of the company.

“We were 5 employees when the project started. Now we are 31 employees and have a product that is in demand from all sides,” says Henning Schmidt-Petersen.

He calls the innovation project ‘absolutely crucial’ for AquaGreen:

“Through the project, we got funding and access to research that we otherwise could not get. It has been alpha and omega for us,” he says:

“We are a completely different company today; Far more interesting as a sparring partner and workplace. We have received a significant increase in competence, and we are an actor you look for advice,” says Henning Schmidt-Petersen.