For the last three years, Cambridge Nanosystems has been part of a European Commission’s sponsored PlasCarb Project together with six other pan-European partners.
PlasCarb, a three year collaborative project under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the EU, transforms food-waste, from a catchment area of 35 miles, into biogas and upgrades it to bio-methane. From this, an innovative low-energy microwave plasma reactor generates Renewable PlasCarbon and Hydrogen.
See the Highlights in this PlasCarb Project Slideshow
The entire process flow is encompassed by Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) which analyses that the approach is sustainable and taken beyond Best Available Technology. The quality and economic value of the PlasCarbon and Hydrogen are currently being optimised using high quality research and industrial process engineering.
The Structure of the PlasCarb Project
PlasCarb has the potential to generate hydrogen, albeit at low mass flow rate and currently at long payback. The ability to sustainably produce this element has added economical value, as nearly 96% of hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels. Predicted global demand in 2020 is 324 million m3 worth 125 billion EUR. Hydrogen is used in significant quantities by industry, applications ranging from ammonia production to petroleum refining and electronics. Hydrogen is increasingly recognised as a potential future transport fuel for a low carbon economy, including use in the emerging fuel cell technology.
RPC is a product generated by the PlasCarb technology which has been proved to be highly promising for industrial applications and as a sustainable alternative to market-available carbon products from fossil origin [1,2]. The world graphite market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% from 2014 till 2020. PlasCarb offers a sustainable contribution to this growing demand by producing RPC from food waste. Potential applications include but are not limited to:
- Conductive inks for 2D and 3D printing, printable electronics
- Composites in rubber, plastic, etc.
- Electrodes, batteries, supercapacitors
Potential Applications for PlasCarbon
-  Ferdinand Hof, Katerina Kampioti, Kai Huang, Christèle Jaillet, Alain Derré, Philippe Poulin, Hisham Yusof, Thomas White, Krzysztof Koziol, Catharina Paukner , Alain Pénicaud (2016): Conductive inks of graphitic nanoparticles from a sustainable carbon feedstock, Carbon , available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbon.2016.09.052
-  Ahmet Oguz Tezel, Sameer Fotedar, Katerina Kampioti and Rune Wendelbo (2016): Test Report: Application of Renewable PlasCarbon in Batteries. Online available at: http://www.plascarb.eu/assets/content/Downloads/Battery%20Tests%20Report-13-07-2016.pdf