A food and farming company is investing in a pioneering pilot project to convert CO2 emissions back into solid carbon.
The Lapwing Estate has commissioned industrial engineers Bilfinger to build a plant which will use a “reverse coal approach” to try and reverse its greenhouse emissions. The 130-year old Nottinghamshire-based estate has already invested in green technology elsewhere to help make its cereals, vegetables and livestock farming more sustainable.
Bilfinger is providing technical planning and procurement and installing the plant, which is seen as a major milestone for the technique of capturing and storing carbon.
Completion of the high-temperature pyrolysis plant in Nottinghamshire is planned for the end of 2023, when it will start converting CO2 emissions back into solid carbon while producing green energy for food with a positive environmental and social impact.
The process starts with peatlands being rewetted and planted with willow coppice, allowing the peat to slowly rebuild. The process slows CO2 emissions from the land and captures atmospheric CO2 through photosynthesis.
The willow and reeds are then harvested, chipped and fed into the high temperature pyrolysis plant, which breaks it down through thermal decomposition.
The end product is renewable heat, electricity and biochar – the reverse coal – which can then be buried safely underground.
The concept is being financially backed by BEIS – the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – with scientific support from the University of Lincoln and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Sandy Bonner, executive president for Bilfinger UK, said: “We are excited to be part of The Lapwing Estate’s innovative CO2 reduction project and delivering the carbon processing plant design, supply and installation.
“We see this as a positive opportunity for the future of Bilfinger UK and the environment.”
James Brown, chief executive of The Lapwing Estate, said: “Reverse coal is a radical and transformative whole systems approach that transitions from traditional organic farming on degraded lowland peat, towards climate resilient, controlled environment agriculture.
“This approach offers a broad array of interlinked societal, environmental and economic benefits. We are happy to be able to rely on Bilfinger’s years of expertise and experience in building technically pioneering facilities for this forward-looking project.”
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