At the end of October 2012, AVA-CO2 set yet another milestone in industrial use with the commencement of trial operations at the first industrial plant for the hydrothermal carbonization of biomass worldwide. On October 30, there was a celebration to mark the grand opening of the TZO in Relzow, Germany, attended by political and economic representatives and led by Hans-Josef Fell, Member of the Bundestag and spokesman on energy policy of the parliamentary party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Alliance ’90/The Greens). At the same time, AVA-CO2’s HTC-1 plant was commissioned to start trial operations. This HTC plant transforms a range of regional biogenic waste into AVA clean coal, a CO2-neutral source of energy, within a matter of hours. Thanks to its high energy density and stability, the biochar produced can be easily stored and transported.
“One of the biggest advantages of AVA clean coal, compared to wind or photovoltaic power plants, is its load capability. In addition, like all other types of renewable energy, AVA clean coal has priority access to the grid. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to combine different technologies here at TZO. Electricity can then be produced day and night and fed into the grid”, explains Thomas M. Kl?usli, Chief Marketing Officer and media spokesman for the AVA-CO2 Group.
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Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC)
Using heat and pressure, the HTC process removes water from the biomass and the remaining carbon is transformed into high-quality, CO2-neutral biocoal within a matter of hours. For this, the biomass is heated in pressure vessels to approximately 220o Celsius. One of the characteristics of hydrothermal carbonization is, among other things, that plant biomass with a high water content can also be processed.
The HTC process from AVA-CO2 is extremely efficient and uses over 90% of the available carbon in the biomass, creating high-quality, CO2-neutral AVA clean coal as an end product. Thanks to its stability and high energy density, this biocoal can be easily stored and efficiently transported. As an alternative, the HTC process can also produce AVA biochar, a product similar to humus that is used to improve agricultural soil and store CO2. Research was conducted on the hydrothermal carbonization process by Friedrich Bergius in 1913. He went on to receive the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1931.
AVA-CO2 offers solutions worldwide to convert biomass into a sustainable source of energy. As a pioneer in hydrothermal carbonization (HTC), AVA-CO2 plans, constructs and operates HTC plants on behalf of its customers. These facilities turn plant residue into high-quality CO2-neutral biocoal or CO2-negative biochar in an efficient and profitable manner. Registered in Zug, Switzerland with subsidiaries in both Germany and Switzerland, the Company commissioned the first industrial-sized HTC demonstration facility worldwide in 2010 and the first industrial HTC-1 plant worldwide in 2012.