A collaboration between carbon capture specialist O.C.O Technology and Japanese technology provider Kobelco Eco-Solutions Co., Ltd., (Kobelco), has seen the UK company trial its first overseas CO2 treatment facility within an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant in Japan.

The development follows two years of trials in O.C.O’s Avonmouth laboratory and a pilot programme at an EfW plant in Japan.

Unlike in the UK, where pure CO2 is used to treat waste Air Pollution Control residue (APCr), for the first time the new Japanese facility is using the more dilute flue gas CO2 captured from the exhaust stack of the on-site EfW plant.

Stephen Roscoe, Technical Director of O.C.O Technology, said: “This is a huge step forward for us as a business and for carbon capture technology within the Energy from Waste sector. The potential to deploy this technology in Japan and acrss the Far East is enormous.

“These successful trials have shown that our carbonation process can deliver the twin benefits of cutting the cost of treating flue gas residues and reducing the carbon footprint of EfW facilities, while still remaining compliant with Japan’s strict environmental standards.”

Because flue gas contains far lower concentrations of CO2 than the pure gas used at O.C.O’s three UK operations, extensive tests and trials were necessary to ensure the Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT) process was still robust enough to immobilise the heavy metals contained within the APCr.

Working under the constraints of the worldwide Covid-induced travel ban, O.C.O scientists based at the Avonmouth laboratory used specially-designed software to mirror the Japanese control room operation, enabling them to interact remotely in real time as the trials were conducted.

The team also worked closely with Kobelco engineers on the design and installation of the trial facility. This included a mixer / CO2 reactor, which injects the flue gases into the APCr as part of the carbonation process.

Dr. Peter Gunning, Head of Research & Development at O.C.O, said “The project demonstrates the benefits of working with Kobelco and having access to their huge engineering resources and expertise. This first international deployment of the carbonation technology was challenging but ultimately very rewarding. We enjoyed working with the Kobelco engineers and site teams and look forward to future projects.”

Details of the project were announced by Kobelco at The 32nd Annual Conference of Japan Society of Material and Waste Management (JSMCWM), held in Okayama and online on Monday, 25 October, 2021.

It is the first time O.C.O has trialled its technology within an EfW plant and the success of the project gives the green light to O.C.O and Kobelco to extend the rollout of similar treatment plants to other EfW facilities in Japan.

Hisanori Shimakura, General Manager of Kobelco’s Technical Research Centre, said: “The success of these trials has proved the new treatment facility can enable carbon recycling without the need to separate CO2 from flue gas residues and, importantly, it can deliver lower operating costs for immobilising heavy metals in line with Japanese regulations.

“We are very excited by the great progress that has been made and believe these benefits will open up new opportunities for the use of ACT with a wide range of customers eager to promote carbon capture and utilisation in their own facilities.

“We are delighted to work with O.C.O Technology, which is a world-leading CCU company specialising in the treatment of waste APCr. I believe these trials demonstrate real synergy by combining O.C.O’s commercial expertise in Accelerated Carbon Technology and Kobelco’s own engineering experience with over 20 years in the field of EfW. Together, we have shown great teamwork throughout this project and look forward to exploring further opportunities for collaboration.”

Picture shows the mixer / CO2 reactor installed as part of O.C.O Technology’s first overseas trial CO2 treatment facility within an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant in Japan.