Harnessing low cost, sustainable, activated carbon from waste

Hands holding activated carbon

In what is believed to be a world-first, an Adelaide-based start-up has developed a new, low cost, sustainable method of producing activated carbon.

Based out of the University of Adelaide’s ThincLab, ByGen was co-founded by Dr Lewis Dunnigan, Ben Morton and Dr Philip Kwong, after they established a pilot plant at the University in 2018. 

Traditionally, activated carbon is used extensively for water purification, soil remediation, precious metal recovery and cosmetics, with a global market value of approximately USD 5 billion. This figure is estimated to reach USD 8 billion by 2025. 

Although activated carbon can be made from agricultural waste streams, the processes are extremely energy-intensive and associated costs are considerably high.
According to Dr Dunnigan, ByGen’s breakthrough development represents a unique opportunity to not only introduce sustainable practice into the industry, but also to produce a higher value product. 

“Our approach is much more energy efficient and allows for tailoring of the product, enhancing its performance in different applications.”

“ByGen has been operating for over two years now and is looking to bring environmental sustainability into the industry.” 

ByGen’s next step is to build a full-scale plant, capable of producing commercial quantities. This would lead to significant job creation in regional Australia, as well as providing an economically viable method for using waste streams.

Tagged in Energy, mining and resources, carbon, environmental sustainability