A RESEARCH project which started last year has developed a process that could convert biogas from anaerobic digestion (AD) plants into wonder material graphene.
The three-year project, funded by the European Union, has created graphitic carbon by splitting methane molecules that are produced from the AD process.
The graphitic carbon could be upgraded to graphene, which has a number of potential uses including boosting the energy capacity of smartphone batteries.
The process uses a low-energy plasma reactor and also produces hydrogen which can be used in energy production.
Plascarb was established in February 2014 as an eight-member partnership, with representatives from five European countries, by the Centre for Process Innovation based in Redcar.
Head of business and projects Steven Broome said: “We are currently working on enhancing the capabilities of, among other areas, lithium ion batteries used in smartphones, laptops and tablets by incorporating graphite/graphene as an anode to manufacture much higher storage capacities offering improved longevity and charge rate.
“The EU has designated graphite as one of the EU’s 14 economically critical raw materials which will be of significant importance in the development of future emerging technologies. The increasing use of graphite in emerging technologies has fuelled the annual €10m (£7.3m) global graphite market, which is forecast to have grown at more than 5% a year between 2012 and 2016.”
This new development in power generation signifies a huge step in the war on food waste, as well as generating cleaner energy. If results prove successful, the millions of tonnes of domestic and Foodservice food waste generated every year in the UK could be used for this purpose.