O.C.O Technology’s expertise on the virtual stage at EfWNet event
The challenges and opportunities for
sustainable carbon capture were at the centre of a presentation at last week’s Energy
from Waste Virtual Conference by Dr Peter Gunning, Head of Research and
Development at O.C.O Technology.
In a session entitled Circular
Economy and Resource Recovery, Peter spoke in detail about Carbon
Capture & Sustainable APCr Treatment Solutions: Challenges and
And it’s a subject he returned to the
following day as he was joined by his O.C.O colleagues for a sponsored round
“There was a huge amount of interest in
our technology as delegates could see for themselves the huge potential for
carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) and carbon mineralisation,” said Peter.
“Both the Q&A session and the round
table debate enabled us to respond to questions from the audience on a wide
range of issues, it was a hugely useful exercise and one which I believe has
opened new horizons and possibilities for the work we are doing.”
Described as the UK and Europe’s premier
energy from waste conference, the three-day event, held in association with
EfWNet, attracted interested parties from around the world.
During his presentation, Peter
highlighted the success story that O.C.O Technology has achieved by becoming
the first company to commercialise its Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT)
process, treating Air Pollution Control residues (APCr) from the Energy
from Waste (EfW) sector with waste
carbon dioxide gas to enable the permanent
capture of significant amounts of CO2.
And he went on to explain how its
technological successes has seen O.C.O manufacture a truly carbon negative
artificial aggregate – known as Manufactured LimeStone
(M-LS) – on a commercial scale for the first time. The product has been granted
End of Waste (EoW) approval
by UK’s Environment Agency – the first time any company in Europe has achieved
such an accolade for an APCr waste stream.
The presentation began by outlining
different options for carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) before taking a more
in-depth look at the mineralisation process used by O.C.O.
Of particular interest to the audience
was the fact, demonstrated by Peter in one of his slides, that a wide range of
materials – including tailings from the mining industry and kiln dust from the
cement sector – all have the potential for carbon mineralisation.
Peter said: “CCU technology offers a
wide variety of possibilities, including the construction of larger regional
facilities receiving wastes from a number of sources, or co-location at sources
where both carbon dioxide and reactive wastes materials are produced.
“CCU processes can be partnered with CO2
purification technologies where it needs to be transported, or take advantage
of low energy direct flue gas capture.”
above shows the role of carbon mineralisation
Recently, O.C.O has been working on a
major new project with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation and Peter explained how
he and his team have been undertaking trials at O.C.O’s Avonmouth facility,
focusing on the carbonation of slag waste from steel processing plants.
The project has now moved forward to the next stage, with a pilot plant being
constructed to enable tests on a range of steel slag residues using a variety
was the fact that Mitsubishi
Corporation has chosen O.C.O as one of only four global companies to join its
Green Concrete Consortium, a project that aims to transform CO2 into
carbon negative concrete and aggregates.
The presentation looked at the technical
challenges and barriers faced by novel technology providers attempting to drive
the circular economy forward, including:
lack of commonality around End of Waste (EoW) legislation worldwide
increasing complexity of product legislation and almost overcritical scrutiny
of valorised products compared to their virgin equivalents
issue of a largely conservative approach towards ‘new’ recycled products
lack of added value for greener, sustainable products
The question of challenges and
constraints for the future also arose during the round table debate, prompting
O.C.O managing director, Steve Greig, to comment: “As the business
has matured, the challenges
and opportunities have changed. Initially our sole focus was around recycling
and the quality of our aggregate product and, whilst these remain key, the focus
today is more about carbon.
“The biggest challenge
is undoubtedly legislation. Here in the UK, we have achieved EoW for our
aggregate as a product, but that process isn’t a level playing ground across
the EU and around the globe – indeed in some countries the legislative
structure for production declaration is still being developed as we speak. As our aggregate is often a new product in
the market, the challenge is how this is viewed and compared to long-established
and known recycled aggregates, such as crushed concrete or bricks for example.”
His views were
echoed by Peter, who added: “There is a lack of consistency. We are trying to
develop the circular economy while dealing with new legislation about
valorising waste. It is important to have bona fide technologies in the supply
chain, but sometimes the legislation can unintentionally can make it a lot
harder for new processes to come into the market.”
around a potential carbon tax and carbon trading platform were also discussed,
with Steve saying: “We are seeing very interesting positions on tax and carbon
and price in different jurisdictions, without doubt carbon tax is coming, but
in what format, whether direct or indirect, and at what cost, we simply don’t
“Having a common
platform on carbon trading and pricing is a very interesting topic and it would
be good to have some clarification and/or a worldwide industry standard put in
place, which makes our work with Mitsubishi so interesting.”
Other topics covered during the two
sessions included tackling the reliance and acceptance of landfill as a
disposal route for EfW residues and the need for greater incentives for green
products to encourage their wider use.