Research & Development
What today is waste can instead be recovered and reused as a source of new materials and converted into sustainable fuels.
FROM AMMONIA TO HYDROGEN - On-demand energy from waste.
Ammonia is produced during the process developed by HBI to treat sewage sludge and is one of the most important compounds for the chemical industry. In fact, ammonia is used to produce fertilizers although, in the future, it will be increasingly used as a clean fuel and as a hydrogen carrier.
HBI, in collaboration with Italian and European universities and research centers, has developed an innovative system to produce renewable ammonia from sewage sludge.
In the field of ammonia enhancement as a sustainable hydrogen carrier, HBI is implementing an innovative electrolysis process, which will enable the production of white hydrogen free of carbon oxide emissions.
The recovery of ammonia from sewage sludge in conjunction with the production of renewable hydrogen is an important milestone in a circular and polygenerative perspective.
ASH VALORISATION - Closing the macronutrient cycle
Through the proprietary technology developed by HBI, more than 90% of the materials and energy contained in sewage sludge is recovered. Thanks to HBI's research and development projects, even that remaining 10 percent can be further enhanced.
In fact, the residual ash from the gasification process, which is now destined for disposal, still contains valuable chemical elements such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen, some of which are recognized as critical raw materials (CRMs) by the European Union. Those elements, once extracted, can be reused.
By implementing industrially one of HBI's patents, the goal of our research activity in this filed is to maximize the value of the residual ash from the sludge treatment process to make it set for the preparation of an inorganic fertilizer compliant with Regulation (EU) 1009/2019.
The HBI process is a polygenerative process: to date we can reduce the volume to be taken for disposal by 90 percent, but we continue to research for new methods to exploit and enhance what to date is still considered a waste and transform it into a resource.
To that end, HBI is working on
- A phosphorus leaching process to be coupled with gasification technology so to extract a key material for the agricultural industry
- An ammonia extraction unit from the process liquid so to obtain a key compound for the chemical industry and a potential hydrogen carrier
- An innovative process to extract metals such as zinc, copper, and aluminum from the ash thus achieving a double benefit: the recovery of rich materials and the protection of the environment where these elements would otherwise be disposed.