IIT Guwahati develops new retort system to decarbonise charcoal

IIT Guwahati develops new retort system to decarbonise charcoal
7 Jan, 2022

While most of the developed countries are producing industrial charcoal through the retort system, it was still not available for Indian charcoal producers because of techno-commercial feasibility. With an attempt to offset the technological and capital investment challenges in producing decarbonised charcoal, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati Researchers have developed an affordable Improve Natural Draft Charcoal Retort (INDCR).

Dr. Senthilmurugan Subbiah, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, said the reactor "is proven to produce high-quality charcoal from a wide range of feedstock, and it’s designed to use its own feedstock as heating fuel. This reactor is portable to agricultural fields, and it is proven to convert all the agricultural waste to charcoal without the noxious gas emissions.” Feedstock is the raw material required in processing of charcoal.

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IIT Guwahati claimed that the retort system operates in an environment friendly way with very low emissions of Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Hydrocarbons, and particulate matter. Further, the charcoal produced from the retort reactor was used as a fuel in barbeque & blast furnace heating applications and as a sorbent in pharmaceutical wastewater treatment.

The developed charcoal retort reactor was installed and tested at Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, with the fabrication help of M/s. Optima Heat Technologies. IIT Guwahati has signed a technology transfer agreement with Sanron Fuel Pvt. Ltd. and Samkitec Resources, Hyderabad to create an impact on practical industry usage. 

“This technology transfer will enable further research and development in IIT Guwahati to design a higher capacity reactor system to produce an industrial-grade charcoal irrespective of any input loading feedstock with a higher mass & energy yield and lower emissions,” Subbiah further added.  

It is to be mentioned that National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited’s New initiative ‘Wing for Waste to Energy Projects’, organised an open competition Green Charcoal Hackathon 2020, where IIT Guwahati innovators presented the INDCR as participants. Upon further evaluation and mentorship by the NTPC officials, the developed reactor has been given an opportunity to be demonstrated at Township of NTPC, the institute claimed.