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Regional Development and Integration of unused biomass wastes as Resources for Circular products and economic Transformation


Every year, at least 34 million tons of residual biomass are wasted from the management of rural landscapes and urban green spaces in Northwest Europe (NWE). On the other hand, there is a growing market for sustainable and decentralized products such as activated carbon, which is used in wastewater technologies to purify water contaminated with complex chemicals or antibiotics. RE-DIRECT is a comprehensive approach to promote the efficient use of natural resources and materials by converting residual biomass into carbon products and activated carbon in smart regional decentralized plants.

Goals and approach

RE-DIRECT aims to establish decentralized conversion plants to convert residual biomass into alternative carbon products. The focus is on activated carbon to be used for the purification of regional wastewater and contaminated sites.

The first phase of the project established a network for alternative carbon products and promoted the collection, production and value chain management of alternative carbon and carbon products as a starting point for a circular economy.

Innovations and perspectives

RE-DIRECT builds on the proven technology for the integrated production of solid fuels and biogas from biomass (IFBB).  20,000 tons of unused biomass will be converted into region-specific carbon products, including activated carbon, as part of a circular economy concept. The first phase of the project brought together regional and interregional stakeholder communities (biomass waste producers, industry, SMEs, NGOs, researchers, and regional stakeholders) to research, develop, and manage region-specific product portfolios and create economic value chains under transferable "integrated biomass concepts." In addition, the project developed a large-scale plant and activated carbon manufacturing investment at an urban biomass conversion center in Germany and a small-scale agricultural conversion facility in Wales. This has created 20 jobs in close proximity to the plant and provided additional employment and income generation projects for disadvantaged groups in society (the unemployed and residents in backward rural areas).

In the second phase of the project, the capitalization of the project results will be developed through activities in two levels:

  1. The combination of RE-DIRECT plant carbon production and urban climate change mitigation and adaptation through urban vertical agriculture opens a new field of application, as it combines urban climate improvement and quality of life enhancement with urban carbon sequestration, thus providing an additional circular carbon business case in regional development plans.
  2. For urban agriculture, the conversion technology can be optimized to a) improve the surface and physicochemical parameters for an optimized substrate for urban agriculture and b) also use the gas from pyrolysis to increase the efficiency and sustainability of the RE-DIRECT concept and generate additional fuel.