Topics

Carbon-negative geochar from methane #methane #hydrothermalcarbonization


sevclarke@...
 

As a newbie, could I ask whether anyone has done, or would be prepared to make, the assumptions and calculations regarding what percentage of the geochar/biochar/carbon black (produced using plasma powered by renewable energy and Monolith Materials' methane splitting process, see https://monolithmaterials.com/innovative-technology/  )  would be needed to be used for soil enhancement (combining it with manure and gelator and injected as a moist slug deep into the soil) to grow more forest/crop biomass to make the whole process carbon-negative over time?


Tomaso Bertoli - CISV
 

Hello sevclarke

 

Can you provide more info on the scale you envision ?

on your website it looks like the technology is at large industrial scale

 

Could it be scaled down ? if yes at what cost \ what business drives ?

 

Tomaso

 

Da: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Per conto di sevclarke via groups.io
Inviato: giovedì 23 aprile 2020 02:05
A: main@Biochar.groups.io
Oggetto: [Biochar] Carbon-negative geochar from methane

 

As a newbie, could I ask whether anyone has done, or would be prepared to make, the assumptions and calculations regarding what percentage of the geochar/biochar/carbon black (produced using plasma powered by renewable energy and Monolith Materials' methane splitting process, see https://monolithmaterials.com/innovative-technology/  )  would be needed to be used for soil enhancement (combining it with manure and gelator and injected as a moist slug deep into the soil) to grow more forest/crop biomass to make the whole process carbon-negative over time?


sevclarke@...
 

Hi Tomaso, It is not my website. As far as I am aware, MM has not considered the use of its technology to provide carbon-negative natural gas. There are also other methods of splitting methane. You would need to contact the suppliers of the technologies to establish the scale range and cost of each. Theoretically, my surmise is that methane splitting could be made to work at village or farm scale, using a wind turbine or solar installation to power it. As hydrogen is currently expensive to store or transport, you might want to either have a current use for it, or else negotiate with your natural gas supplier to reward you for injecting it into the local grid. You would also need to test whether geochar had the requisite properties to be a good soil amendment as it may not have such a high surface area and good chemical characteristics for absorption as biochar.


sevclarke@...
 

Tomaso, Further to my reply, should your source of natural gas have a substantial carbon dioxide content, you might care to use NovoNutrients technology that ferments CO2 and hydrogen to produce bacterial protein. This product is an excellent stockfeed for ruminants, poultry, crustaceans, molluscs and fish farms. Dessicated, I surmise it would store well.


ROBERT W GILLETT
 

sevclarke,

Welcome to the group. I hope you will stick around and provide more of your out-of-the-box systems-level ideas. 

There are so many potential uses of biochar. New ways of producing and modifying it are often being discovered. 

Your kind of industry-spanning perspective is much needed in our growing community of doers and dreamers.

Robert Gillett


sevclarke@...
 

Thanks, Robert. Nice to be so welcomed. Regarding new ways of producing biochar, would some in the group care to assess my Winwick Hydrothermal Carbonization (WHC) method of producing industrial-scale amounts of biochar at low energy cost from forestry waste such as bark, twigs and branches? This complements the methane splitting technologies now available. See the attachment. More documentation is available on request. Some is available at https://www.climate-restoration-foundation.com/winwick-business-solutions . I also attach my take on the highest use of the various sources of biomass and non-bio carbonaceous waste, many of which might be processed by one or more conceptual Winwick processes when some R&D group decides to develop and commercialize them. Should the technology work, it could be key to restoring global soil carbon content and productivity profitably. Cheers, Sev Clarke


ROBERT W GILLETT
 

Hello Sev,

Without reading everything, I was hoping perhaps you can offer a few key details. The drillhole reactors, which are miles deep perhaps, have material loaded into small tubes for charring? If that is the case, how much biomass would be loaded per km of drillhole and how much energy would it take to retrieve it when it has completed charring? If you prefer, a page reference in the document would be fine.

Robert Gillett 


sevclarke@...
 

Hi Robert,
To reach close to the supercritical water conditions, 220atm and 374C, needful to transform biomass into biochar, water and some CO2, an aqueous slurry-filled drillhole reactor needs to be 2-4km deep. Geothermal drillholes with diameters of ~60cm already go nearly twice as deep. As a Winwick drillhole reactor is in the form of a concentric pipe within a pipe, the two connecting at their bases, the average cross section of each might be ~1,300cm2 (allowing for pipe wall thicknesses and drillhole casing). The aqueous charring process would be a continuous one, with the biomass+air/oxygen+catalyst+water slurry being pumped down the central shaft, being heated by a combination of heat exchange, adiabatic warming, and oxidation on the way down, then carbonizing in the depths, and exiting as as an aqueous biochar slurry via the outer, annular pipe. The biochar would then be filtered off and the warm water recycled as new slurry. After many recycles, the water would be treated to remove the accumulated nutrients, then recycled. In my vision, most of the moist biochar cake might then be mixed with manure and a gelator (perhaps carboxymethylcellulose, CMC) before being transported in slurry form and injected into the soil behind a ripper by foresters or farmers.
Sev


ROBERT W GILLETT
 

Sev,

I read more of your paper and think your concept is awesome. It seems you could make many tons of biochar per day with one of these. Finding existing infrastructure to demonstrate and optimize the process would seem to be a necessary near-term goal. The bioreactor would probably have to be a greenfield project. You would want it all close to customers to minimize delivery costs until the logistics could be rationalized. 

You asked about using forestry waste, so I take it you have in mind grinding the feedstock to make a miscible slurry before pumping it through the drillhole reactor?

Robert


sevclarke@...
 

Robert. Thanks for your observations. Yes, depending on the rate of pumping, each drillhole reactor could produce up to hundreds of tonnes per day of biochar. Because of forest waste biomass collection logistics, a WDR facility would best be located in the forest, on nearby access roads (or rail or river), or where crop residues or weed species biomass could be cheaply accessed. However, it may be desirable to have the partly de-watered (and maybe gelated) biochar slurry pumped economically by pipeline, perhaps a hundred or more kilometres, to make it more accessible to other forms of bulk transportation, to processors and end users. The excess water component might then be piped back to the WDR for recycling or used locally.  A pilot plant might utilize an obsolete or unused borehole of considerably smaller diameter. A benchtop pressure-temperature reactor might be used to establish proof of concept for the carbonization process. In order to keep corrosive sup/supercritical water from the walls of the benchtop reactor, a titanium test-tube with a pistoning plug could be inserted. Because of the diameter of the Winwick drillhole, and because the energetics of bubble decavitation would tend to fragment the carbonizing biomass, the input biomass would only need be chipped to become part of the slurry, not ground up.
Sev 


Trevor Richards
 

also a possible future for redundant offshore O&G facilities, farming seaweed?



On Mon, 4 May 2020 at 11:10, sevclarke via groups.io <sevclarke=me.com@groups.io> wrote:
Robert. Thanks for your observations. Yes, depending on the rate of pumping, each drillhole reactor could produce up to hundreds of tonnes per day of biochar. Because of forest waste biomass collection logistics, a WDR facility would best be located in the forest, on nearby access roads (or rail or river), or where crop residues or weed species biomass could be cheaply accessed. However, it may be desirable to have the partly de-watered (and maybe gelated) biochar slurry pumped economically by pipeline, perhaps a hundred or more kilometres, to make it more accessible to other forms of bulk transportation, to processors and end users. The excess water component might then be piped back to the WDR for recycling or used locally.  A pilot plant might utilize an obsolete or unused borehole of considerably smaller diameter. A benchtop pressure-temperature reactor might be used to establish proof of concept for the carbonization process. In order to keep corrosive sup/supercritical water from the walls of the benchtop reactor, a titanium test-tube with a pistoning plug could be inserted. Because of the diameter of the Winwick drillhole, and because the energetics of bubble decavitation would tend to fragment the carbonizing biomass, the input biomass would only need be chipped to become part of the slurry, not ground up.
Sev 


sevclarke@...
 

Hi Trevor,
Possibly, but seaweed-derived food, fodder and chemicals have a much higher value use than as biochar. Apart from simply drying and pulverising the seaweed for these markets, the valuable nutraceuticals, monomers and chemicals might economically be released using a variant of Winwick Hydrothermal Carbonization called WH Liquefaction. This is designed to depolymerise seaweed's and other biomass' polymeric macromolecules into their monomers. Sub/supercritical water processes can be finely tuned to suit the generation of a variety of different products from biomass, just by slightly changing the maximum pressure or other conditions.
Redundant and >3km deep (includes sea depth too) O&G drillholes do have WDR potential, but may not be conveniently located.
Farming seaweed does not require grounded structures but is probably optimally designed with buoyed and anchored, submarine solid grids for the seaweed holdfasts, combined with methods to raise the grids to permit below-surface "mowing" and surface harvesting of the cut fronds, followed by re-sinking the grids to allow for new growth, ship's passage and to avoid storm destruction.
Sev


ROBERT W GILLETT
 

Sev,

Thanks for continuing the discourse. I haven't been so fascinated by a technology since I went through the Navy's nuclear power training program. I would love to delve into supercritical reactions and decavitation bubbles, but my interest was first piqued by the possibility of leveraging stranded assets at the end of the fossil fuel era. There are so many drillholes and pipelines on the landscape that I would hope could be repurposed. Was this a big factor in the development of your concept?

Robert


sevclarke@...
 

Robert,
No, What mainly led me conceptually to develop the Winwick drillhole technology was the need to process the microalgae that would be grown in my cost-effective Winwick bioreactors. When I saw the potential of gravity well reactors, combined with the amazing energetics of decavitating bubbles, this caused me to widen the scope to form the basis for a fairly comprehensive biorefinery industry. Most readers will not know that when a bubble decavitates an instantaneous temperature of around 5,000C is generated, along with an intense micro-pressure wave and two penetrating microjets. The instantaneous nature of bubble decavitation energetics should tend to prevent undesirable back-reactions that reduce yields from occurring. These fleeting effects, combined with those of supercritical water, should be able to facilitate many desirable physicochemical reactions at high energy-efficiencies. For those interested I attach two documents that describes how these effects might be used to advantage. Owners of stranded methane assets and distributed biomethane generators might do well to consider combining methane splitting methods that generate geochar and hydrogen using renewable energy with NovoNutrients' method of fermenting hydrogen and waste CO2 to produce readily-stored and transported protein.
Sev