Carbon Fiber Aerogel: Transforming Waste to Worth

Technology Overview

Globally, there is an increased need for sustainable technologies that reduce waste, turn waste into value-add products, and eliminate environmental impact of polluting industries. In Oil & Gas industries, there is a need for technologies that remove hydrocarbons from the huge amounts of contaminated effluent water and clean up oil spills. In the waste management industry, technologies are developed to minimize waste, all the way down to a zero waste approach, while other technologies focus on creating value out of waste materials. These waste-to-worth developments continue to grow and deliver major environmental benefits and new sources of resources.

This technology is related to the development of carbon fiber aerogel (CFA), made from low cost and sustainable material, which possesses unique properties that make it exceptionally suitable for the Oil & Gas industry and industrial waste water treatment. Based on sample test results, the technology has proven to remove 99% of hydrocarbon contamination which shows unprecedented efficiency in treating waste water with ultra-high efficiency, and low cost in use. These results also indicate the potential to optimize current water remediation processes.

CFA is also poised to transform the food recycling industry as it can efficiently separate grease & oils from food sludge, and recuperate it for applications like energy production. It also is a step forward for bioconversion processes where grease is an inhibitor of the process. Since CFA itself is produced from waste biomass, it has a double sustainable impact.

Technology Features & Specifications

CFA is a highly efficient absorbent, produced through a patented, controlled pyrolytic process. It uses readily available and low cost waste paper or cotton as a base material. Driven by its aerogel structure and properties, it is lightweight, has an ultra-high bonding surface area, and an extremely high absorption capacity of up to 192 times its own weight for certain organic materials. Since CFA is inert, and does not require additive chemistry during its production, it has a minimal to no environmental footprint when applied for the above mentioned decontamination needs.

What further contributes to its highly efficient nature and low cost in use, is its ability to be recycled, multiple times. The absorbed organic material/oil can be recuperated via applying mechanical pressure or via distillation. Even after burning off the organic matter, the regenerated CFA can be reused again. The good compressibility properties of the material also allow for promising application developments and supply planning.

Potential Applications

The CFA technology is targeting the Oil & Gas Sector, industrial waste water, and Food recycling industries. Its highly efficient removal and recuperation of organic materials and its low cost makes it an attractive alternative solution for existing applications.

In Oil & Gas industry, the CFA technology, which has demonstrated ultra-high efficiency in the removal of hydrocarbon contamination of a range of contaminated water sources, can potentially be implemented in existing water treatment facilities as well as in off-shore locations where small footprint treatments are required.

For industrial waste water treatment, the CFA technology is a low in use cost solution compared to activated carbon treatments for organics, and offers efficient water remediation options where today no solution is available.

In food waste recycling, the CFA technology can also be implemented in-line process solutions, hence, enabling food recyclers to remove contaminants from the bioconversion process, and recuperate the grease & oils for alternative applications.

Customer Benefits

CFA offers low in-use cost removal and recovery of organic contaminants where today

·       no technical solution is available, or

·       current solutions are very costly, suboptimal or inefficient and /or resource intensive, and

·       solutions are available but generating secondary waste and no value creation

Other impactful benefits include:

·       Optimizing current process flow with in-line and continuous processing

·       Cost-avoidance of treating/handling waste - give polluting industries an alternative to storage or costly handling

·       Monetization (Value creation) of waste via selling/using recovered products

·       Sustainable environmental impact (CSR opportunity)

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