From food waste to graphitic carbon – a sustainable development?

Invited abstract in session MA-39: Biomass-Based Supply Chains, stream Biomass-Based Supply Chains.

Area: Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Climate

Monday, 8:30-10:00
Room: Building WE, 1st floor, Room 107

Authors (first author is the speaker)

1. Florian Gehring
Life Cycle Engineering (GaBi), Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP
2. Christian Peter Brandstetter
Life Cycle Engineering, University of Stuttgart, Chair of Building Physics
3. Eva Knüpffer
Life Cycle Engineering, Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP
4. Stefan Albrecht
Life Cycle Engineering , Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics


The project PlasCarb (PC) aims to transform food waste into a sustainable significant economic added value product, i.e., high-value graphitic carbon (C) and renewable hydrogen (RH2) – thus integrating business with research. This will combine improving resource efficiency and lowering the dependence on imports of fossil resources with sustainability management. The technology combines anaerobic digestion (AD) with innovative microwave plasma processing. Its aim is being competitive and more sustainable against current end-of-life (incineration, landfill, biological treatment) and production technologies of H2 and C.
A holistic sustainability analysis including environmental and socio-economic aspects will assess PC´s whole value chain and process steps (AD, biogas upgrading, splitting of biogas methane into high value C and RH2 using plasma, and purification) regarding its sustainability potential. The methods of choice are life cycle assessment (LCA), life cycle costing (LCC) and social analysis, as well as comparisons against state of the art technologies. The holistic assessment is complemented by consideration of the process scale up and sensitivity analysis.
Although the project is still running, crucial points identified so far are impacts from the energy consuming plasma process, the procedure of allocation of (food waste) impacts, the quality of biogas and the need of upgrading it.


Status: accepted

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