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TerraWatt Biochar is going to start a pilot for the production of biochar from biobased raw materials at the Green Chemistry Campus in Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands. The company will receive a contribution for this from the 'Biobased Economy Incentive Scheme'.
Editorial office / Bergen op Zoom

Biochar captures carbon from biomass and thus reduces CO2 emissions. The biochar can be used to improve soil quality and absorb nitrogen. The ultimate goal: large-scale production of CO2-negative asphalt and biochar from residual flows such as roadside grass.

Production on pilot scale

TerraWatt Biochar wants to contribute to an accelerated transition to a CO2-negative economy where CO2 is no longer produced, but absorbed. To bring that goal closer, TerraWatt places pyrolysis equipment in the demo facility of the Green Chemistry Campus. TerraWatt will use this to produce samples of biochar on the basis of various biobased raw materials. The goal is to achieve the desired structure and quality for various applications of biochar, such as asphalt, soil improvers or animal feed.

After the pilot project, TerraWatt wants to produce biochar on a large scale for use in CO2-negative asphalt. To this end, the company has already concluded an agreement with an internationally operating producer of CO2-negative asphalt. In addition, TerraWatt would like to work together with the Department of Public Works and Dutch asphalt companies to pyrolyse roadside grass into biochar for subsequent application in CO2-negative asphalt.

Connie Paasse, director of the Green Chemistry Campus is pleased with the arrival of TerraWatt: “This pyrolysis pilot fits in perfectly with the other pyrolysis developments in the West-Brabant region, including the pyrolysis activities of Biorizon/TNO in our demo facility and PyroCHEM Park at Port of Moerdijk. I warmly welcome TerraWatt Biochar and I am convinced that fruitful cross-pollinations will arise.”

€ 1.2 M for biobased SMEs

TerraWatt Biochar will receive a contribution for the pyrolysis pilot from the incentive programme for biobased SMEs. In September 2020, the municipality of Bergen op Zoom, in collaboration with the Green Chemistry Campus and with a financial contribution from the Province of Noord-Brabant, made € 1,187,500 available for small and medium-sized enterprises from the EU that are active in the biobased economy. Companies can apply for up to € 95,000 in co-financing. TerraWatt Biochar is the third company to make use of the incentive scheme. Fruitleather previously received a contribution for the further development of a vegetable alternative for leather based on mangos and Dutch Water Tech received a contribution for the development of biobased water plant islands.

Image: Green Chemistry Campus

Biochar against climate change

Biochar is a charcoal-like substance that is produced by heating biobased raw materials in the absence of oxygen, i.e. by pyrolysis. Biochar has the special property of sequestering carbon - for example from biomass - for centuries, thereby combating climate change. In addition, biochar has an extremely high absorption capacity. The applications are numerous. In cattle feed it ensures lower ammonia and methane gas emissions and healthier animals. As an active carbon filter, biochar removes heavy metals from water and air. Finally, biochar effectively absorbs ammonia, methane and nitrogen from soil, manure and air.