Piloting Biochar production from Food & Beverage Waste

Background Information

Large quantities of organic waste biomass are produced from Kenya’s agricultural and agro-processing industries. These are often dumped, burned, or end up in landfills where they release harmful greenhouse gases during decomposition. Building on circular economy principles, Sanergy has teamed up with TakaChar to pilot a pyrolysis plant in Kinanie in Kenya’s Machakos County. The plant will convert organic waste bagasse and waste from mango and avocado processing into biochar, a carbon-rich stable material thus addresses the mounting organic waste challenge in Kenya while producing biochar for regenerative farming practices.

The pilot commenced with a feasibility study, that aimed to determine the viability of producing high-quality biochar at scale from available feedstocks which can be incorporated into the Regen Organics’ existing organic fertiliser offering as a low-cost high-quality blend for farmers. The project spans over two years, beginning with the concept design phase and a feasibility study, followed by a pilot installation at 80%. of the “optimal capacity” before culminating the production into full operation and seeking commercial finance for scaling.

The feasibility study determined that TakaChar would be the most suitable and technologies for the preferred feedstock. Bagasse, avocado and mango wastes were determined to be the most viable base feedstocks due to consistent supply. The study also assessed the required modifications to the pyrolysis plant design needed to ensure optimal quantity (>800 tonnes/year) and quality (hydrogen:carbon ratio of <0.7) of biochar; as well as readiness for carbon credits.

Once installed, the pilot plant will have the capacity to process more than 7,200 tonnes of organic waste over the course of the project and promises considerable cost-saving benefits to manufacturers by offering low-cost waste collection and year-round waste management. It therefore mitigates against some of the known environmental impacts associated with conventional methods of waste disposal (dust, leachate and water contamination), as well as reduces greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise be released as methane or carbon dioxide.

The pilot will pave the way for further application to high-volume waste streams such as sugarcane bagasse, coffee skins, and rice husks.

Updates

TakaChar has been selected as the vendor for designing, fabricating and installing the pilot as they offer the lowest capital costs and highest margins, with significant carbon credit potential thereby enhancing financial viability. Pilot operations and technical validation of the TakaChar’s equipment will commence from July 2024 as an aspect of financial appraisal. Technical validation commences with five feedstock types, with the aim to scale up to 25 feedstock types by the end of the project.

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Timeframe

August 2023 – March 2026

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Active

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