The Earth Systems Energy and Carbon team has been involved in a variety of projects including biomass-to-energy feasibility studies, biochar technology and product development, waste-to-energy technologies, regional renewable energy mapping, GHG and energy auditing, as well as biochar soil trials.
Below are some brief descriptions of our recent projects.
Reforestation with Biochar in Hong Kong
Earth Systems has completed a project with Kardoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) in Hong Kong in assisting with their biomass waste management for biochar production and native reforestation. The CharMaker system was successfully delivered to Hong Kong and is now producing large quantities of biochar.
Click here to read more.
Turning Waste into High Value Product
Earth Systems has been engaged by Coleman Rail to assist them in converting their old wooden floor blocks into biochar.
During the tender process of the Preston Tram Workshops, the wooden floor blocks, located in Yarra Trams’ old industrial workshops, were identified as disposable landfill. However, through value engineering, the Coleman Rail team was able to develop a sustainable solution. Through collaborating with Earth Systems, a multidisciplinary environmental and social consulting firm, the team identified a potential purpose for the floor blocks that in turn reduced the project’s total landfill.
Earth Systems has developed a mobile biochar system called “CharMaker.” The system uses the pyrolysis technique to convert biomass to charcoal. Biochar is a form of charcoal that is regularly used for soil amendment. The product is seen to have huge potential for mitigating climate change and reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gases.
Biochar, when used as a soil additive, improves water and nutrient retention in soil, enhances the effectiveness of fertilisers, reduces soil acidity and increases soil carbon to improve the overall productivity of plant growth.
Click here to read more about biochar and its benefits and applications.
Through this initiative, Coleman Rail is not only reducing the needless contribution to Victoria’s already limited landfill, but also helping to increase the productivity of the Victoria’s farming community.
Building on our existing transportable pyrolysis technology, Earth Systems developed a novel, in-field thermal process for the disposal of highly pesticide-contaminated timber railway sleepers (rail ties) for a railway operator. The process can be transported to the job site, accepts full size sleepers and does not require metal parts to be removed before processing. The system was successfully trialled at pilot scale, with the timber converted to a non-hazardous biochar suitable for multiple reuses, including soil application.
Earth Systems performed a pilot-scale investigation of the conversion of stockpiled biosolids to a stable, sterile char residue via pyrolysis with Earth Systems’ CharMaker technology for an Australian water treatment plant. The aim of the investigation was to explore alternatives to the current practice of stockpiling biosolids due to space limitation. The CharMaker pyrolysis process successfully eliminated pathogens and odour issues, removed organic contaminants (such as plastic, cloth, and cotton items etc.), and significantly reduced the mass of the original biosolids feedstock.
Research, design and development work including pilot-scale trials were undertaken to evaluate possible processing and re-use pathways for stockpiled biosolids. The study considered two different biosolids treatment processes: Fluidised Bed Gasification (FBG) and Hydrothermal Processing (HTP).
FBG is a thermochemical process by which relatively dry biosolids are thermally reacted in a low oxygen environment to produce a fuel-rich product gas and a biologically inert and manageable ash stream.
On the other hand, HTP simultaneously heats and pressurises wet biosolids to produce a methane rich fuel gas and an inert wet ash stream.
Both technologies were tested at pilot scale to confirm operability and preliminary financial analyses were undertaken for full-scale plants.
Earth Systems and Territory Natural Resource Management conducted biochar soil trials at an organic farm in NT. The trials spanned over 4 months at a 2 hectare site consisting of zucchini and watermelon plots. The biochar was produced and supplied by Earth Systems’ CharMaker MPP20 using waste wood as the feedstock. Key results of the trials include a 25% crop yield increase in one of the zucchini plots, increased pH, soil carbon and available water capacity.
Click here to read more about the soil trials.
To address long-term island energy security, Earth Systems was engaged to conduct a bioenergy feasibility study for Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The initial study included an analysis of current and potential future biomass resources, transport and electricity network constraints, heat utilisation opportunities, and a shortlist of viable technology options. A follow-up report provided detailed feasibility of the best option(s) identified in the initial study.
Since 2011, Earth Systems has been assisting ACMI and Federation Square to ensure their carbon footprint is minimised by conducting yearly GHG audits.
This year, Federation Square proudly announced that they have achieved carbon neutrality. Click here to read the full press release from Federation Square.