WaveFuels presents version 2.0 of pyrolysis

11. December 2023

A new microwave process can convert sewage sludge and other organic material into biochar and new climate-neutral fuels. In the WaveFuels innovation project, Organic Fuel Technology and several other partners will design a full-scale plant based on the technology, which will be commercialised globally in a few years.

”Pyrolysis version 2.0. Or pyrolysis on speed.”

Jens Henrik Haahr has several ideas regarding what the new technological collaboration from the WaveFuels innovation project will lead to.

As CEO of Organic Fuel Technology for the past five years, he has seen how the work to develop a patented technological solution that uses an electromagnetic wavelength field – so-called microwave cracking – has paid off in earnest. The technology is able to convert organic material into green products and has great potential.

“The end product from our process is similar to that of pyrolysis; green fuels like bio-oil and biochar, which can store CO2. However, our technology is still very different. In traditional pyrolysis, organic matter is heated to between 400 and 600 degrees, and sometimes higher than that. We operate at lower temperatures; 325-350 degrees. And we feed our process with electricity. All in all, it’s energy-efficient, safe and qualifying for the end products,” Jens Henrik Haahr says.

Over the next 18 months, he and his WaveFuels partners will finalise a full-scale design of a microwave plant for processing sewage sludge. As an extension of the project period, the plant will be built in the circular GreenLab industrial park in Skive. The project is supported by the Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) and facilitated by the national cluster for the energy sector, Energy Cluster Denmark.

Not just for the money

Organic Fuel Technology provides the key technology in the WaveFuels project and is complemented by Topsoe, EUROmilling and Aarhus University. Topsoe will look at upgrading the oil product from the cracking process, researchers from Aarhus University will optimise i.a. process parameters, and EUROmilling, who are experts in mixing, transporting and storing products like the ones the innovation project centres around, will look at the infeed of biomass to the future plant.

“Our company is driven by engineers, and this is reflected in our desire to be innovative. If someone asks if we can solve a challenge, we tell them: We haven’t done that before, but we’re happy to give it a try. That’s also what we’re trying to do at WaveFuels – initiating a greener solution – but also to create exciting green technologies. That’s the way forward,” says Alexander F. T. Bagge, CEO of EUROMilling.

30 sites by 2035

By the end of 2023, the partners in WaveFuels will finalise the design of the future full-scale plant, among other things. In 2024, work with documentation requirements will be given particular focus. The full-scale plant is expected to be built during 2025 and will eventually be able to handle more than 10,000 tonnes of sewage sludge per year.

“A single WaveFuels plant is estimated to have a positive CO2 impact of approximately 4,000 tonnes per year by providing green fuel that can be sold to the transport sector and through the production of biochar that can both store CO2 and improve soil quality in agriculture. Overall, the innovation project is a good example of how collaboration between large industrial actors, smaller, technology-intensive companies and research can move us closer to commercial products that make a climate difference,” says Glenda Napier, CEO of Energy Cluster Denmark.

Organic Fuel Technology expects to have built 30 WaveFuels plants in Europe by 2035, if the first full-scale plant meets the expectations of the innovation project’s partners.

“If all goes well, we will be able to deliver up to 500 systems globally by 2050. The prerequisite is, of course, a well-functioning and competitive site in Skive. Once this is in place, we expect a very large market potential. The technology is not tied to Denmark and the wastewater sector – in the long term, we will also be able to work with biomass from agriculture, so the perspective is great,” says Jens Henrik Haahr.

Facts about WaveFuels

WaveFuels launched in August 2023 and will end in December 2024. The project is supported by the Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) with DKK 6.4 million. The total budget for the project is DKK 10 million. The ownership consists of: Organic Fuel Technology, Aarhus University, EUROmilling and Topsoe. Energy Cluster Denmark facilitates the innovation project.

Read more about WaveFuels at www.energycluster.dk.

Do you have questions about the project, or do you want to get in touch with the project partners? Contact Jonas Nørholm Larsen, Senior Communications Manager, Energy Cluster Denmark: +45 21224304 / jnl@energycluster.dk