Carbogenics is an Edinburgh-based start-up company which produces sustainable carbon adsorbents from difficult to recycle organic waste, including coffee cups and wastewater screenings. The functional carbons enhance anaerobic digestion, remove odours and pollutants from wastewater and can be used as plant fertilizer, for soil amendment and carbon sequestration.

Carbogenics, a spinout company from The University of Edinburgh, brings together experienced scientists and business experts to translate years of research into innovative and sustainable carbon products, known as biochars, for a broad range of applications and markets. Carbogenics works closely with its clients at all stages of implementation of our technology. Our offer includes consultancy, product and process development and operational support.

Carbogenics’ vision is to become a leader in carbon upcycling and soil carbon sequestration for a circular economy future and a greener, cleaner world for everyone.

Anaerobic digestion

The majority of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants suffer from low performance, operating at only 65% of their full potential.

AD faces multiple problems:
○ Inefficiencies within the AD process, resulting in low yields and reduced revenue.
○ High feedstock cost causing the plant not to work to its full capacity.
○ Poor quality digestate becomes a liability to the business rather than source of revenue.

This leads the AD operators to spend time and money looking for innovative solutions to overcome these problems and increase plant’s efficiency as well as their revenue.

CreChar® AD Enhancer®

CreChar® is a unique patent-pending additive that brings peak performance to Anaerobic Digestion.

CreChar® is produced using a high temperature, oxygen-limited process called Pyrolysis from low value paper waste, like used paper cups and low-quality paper and cardboard waste.

CreChar® is environmentally friendly, improves soil quality and offers long-term carbon sequestration.
CreChar® addresses multiple issues in the biogas production process and ensures higher gas and digestate quality and increased production efficiency when added to the process.

CreChar® comes in two grades: standard and premium.
The Premium CreChar® is bespoke product tailored to the individual needs of each biogas plant to ensure the top performance.

Carbogenics offers operational service consultancy along CreChar® to provide the AD plant owners with the confidence of the highest possible plant performance.

How does CreChar® work?

CreChar is a porous carbon additive, with a unique composition of organic and mineral components, which provides three key benefits:
Binding and absorption of inhibitory chemicals (ammonia, H2S) within the process, to create more favourable AD production conditions.
○ Regulation of pH buffering to better stabilise the process.
○ Creating ideal growth conditions for functional and process-enhancing microorganisms

Thanks to its unique properties, CreChar® can increase the stability and efficiency of the biogas production process. We tailor the necessary treatment to the requirements of individual AD plants to provide improvement in biogas yields up to 15%.

Our Clients - Anaerobic Digestion Industry

Anaerobic Digestion plants convert organic waste like food waste, sewage sludge and farm manure into renewable energy and liquid digestate fertiliser. There are more then 17 000 Anaerobic Digestion plants based in Europe that together produce enough energy to power more than 60 million homes.

Services for AD operators

We offer consultancy and analytical services for AD operators including comprehensive tests in fully automated lab reactors.

  • ○ Feedstock optimisation
  • ○ Foaming
  • ○ Digestate valorisation
Analytical services
  • ○ Feedstock-specific biogas and methane yield
  • ○ Digestate residual biogas yield
  • ○ Volatile fatty acid composition
  • ○ Microbial composition status and dynamics
  • ○ 3 L test CSTR reactors with automatic feeding
  • ○ 100 mL syringe system for batch AD test
  • ○ Chemical analysers
  • ○ Metagenomic analysis

Wastewater Treatment

Sustainable carbon adsorbents

Our CreChar® AD enhancer increases the performance of anaerobic sludge treatment yielding more biogas and reducing the sludge volume. Other sustainable carbons within our product range have shown to increase the efficiency of the activated sludge process and can be used to remove phosphate in the polishing step.

Waste upgrading

We offer WWTW operators to convert their screening waste into a valuable non-toxic porous carbon adsorbent in a patent-pending process. The adsorbent can be used at the same or other WWTWs to eliminate odours from the wastewater or to remove COD, ammonia and phosphate.

Farming & Remediation

Soil amendment/remediation

Carbogenics aims to ensure that any spent carbon products can be used as plant fertiliser and soil amender in full accordance with a waste-free circular economy future policy.
We also possess extensive experience in devolving tailored carbons (biochars) for soil amendment and remediation. Exemplary applications are soil restauration, immobilisation of heavy metals and bioaugmented degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in soils.

Carbon sequestration

Just 60,000 tonnes of CreChar® added to the Anaerobic Digestion plants can save the UK 618,000 tonnes of CO2.
We save carbon at every step of the way:

• Sequestering carbon in CreChar - by using waste as feedstock and applying pyrolysis, we prevent release of many tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which would be produced during conventional waste incineration. The carbon locked in CreChar® is in a very stable form, which means it is very resistant to being broken down by microorganisms and will not be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide for hundreds of years.

• Supporting 20% increase in renewable energy production

• Supporting production of a high-quality natural fertiliser digestate that can be used to substitute chemical fertilisers.


Circular Economy Start-up Signals Growth With New CEO

Carbogenics, an Edinburgh-based circular economy start-up supporting the farming, wastewater and food waste sectors, today (27 Sep) signalled plans for growth with the appointment of a new chief executive with a track record in sustainability and innovation.

Ed Craig, founder and former executive director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI), joins Carbogenics having been Executive Dean at the Centre for Business, Innovation and Enterprise at Staffordshire University.

He says Carbogenics’ aim of improving the efficiency of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants to increase their ability to minimise greenhouse gas emissions can help the UK make progress toward Net Zero.

Mr Craig is an honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh, sits on the international advisory board of Sjtu Low Carbon College in Shanghai, is a senior affiliate to Boston University and advises both SCDI and WWF Scotland. He began his business career in the 1990s in the wastewater treatment sector.

Carbogenics, a former spin-out from the University of Edinburgh, is based in the university’s King’s Buildings. It has a staff of seven but expects this to rise to ten by the end of this year.

Founded in 2016, the business produces an additive which improves the efficiency of AD plants, which in turn produce biogas for heating properties and liquid fertiliser for farmland. The additive - known as CreChar - is made in a high-temperature low-oxygen process using difficult-to-recycle organic waste such as coffee cups and cardboard.

CreChar helps stabilise the digestion process, and creates better growth conditions for the microorganisms that produce the biogas. This results in higher quality gas and fertiliser, and increased production efficiency.

CreChar can also be used to improve the performance of sewage treatment in the wastewater industry, and can be used as a soil restorer and to lock-in carbon.

Ed Craig, chief executive of Carbogenics, said:

“I’m excited about the potential for this business. Anaerobic digestion has a big role to play if we’re serious about Net Zero. There are 700 AD plants in the UK and Carbogenics could transform their efficiency. In doing so, we can help increase the uptake of the technology, which would divert more waste from landfill, reducing emissions.

I’m impressed by the rigorous analysis we’ve been doing of our CreChar product at an AD plant in Stirlingshire. It is my intention we underline its robustness with further tests using different plants and different feedstocks.

AD plant operators, whether industrial, agricultural or water utilities, need to see results and that’s exactly what we can show them. Our biochar can help them make more methane from the feedstock required, which in turn makes their plant more financially viable.”

Mr Craig explained that one of his top priorities as new chief executive would be to develop a proposal to construct a treatment plant in Scotland to create the company’s signature biochar:

“The high-temperature low-oxygen process we use to create CreChar currently relies on a complex supply chain, with materials being sent to England, Northern Ireland and Norway for processing. It would make much more sense to concentrate our activities on a single Scottish site, and that will definitely form part of my plans for the business so we can move to the next level.”

Tony Schofield, chair of the Carbogenics board, said:

“I am delighted to announce that Ed Craig has agreed to become the new CEO of Carbogenics. His significant and long standing experience of helping companies to deliver carbon-reducing technologies and solutions is invaluable.”

“Carbogenics’ vision is to become a leader in carbon upcycling for a circular economy future and a greener, cleaner world for everyone. This is achieved through the production of sustainable carbon adsorbents from difficult to recycle organic waste. One of the many practical applications of these functional carbons is to enhance anaerobic digestion.”

Stuart Haszeldine OBE, professor of carbon capture and storage at the University of Edinburgh, said:

“I’m really pleased to see Carbogenics building and strengthening its leadership team, by bringing in Ed Craig. This move lends Ed’s huge energy, knowledge, network and many years of experience working in the climate change arena. His role previously at the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute in leading climate innovation activities, coaching and advising academics and startups through the University of Edinburgh incubators; and SMEs across the UK, Europe and globally with Climate-KIC has earned him a powerful reputation for challenging assumptions and raising ambitions.”

“Through his leadership I am confident Carbogenics’ growth will accelerate as they apply new ways to address complex issues and will soon see engineered biochar products commercialised into circular economy markets of anaerobic digestion and water filtration.”

More information on Carbogenics:

Media enquiries:
Jason Rose at Hot Tin Roof PR
07591 537271

The Edinburgh ReporterThe Herald ScotlandDaily Business GroupThe ScotsmanAsia's Tech News Daily
FutureScot has mentioned Carbogenics in its Green Tech power list
Insider magazine tweeted the news to its 13,000 followers

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