Plagazi ($7 milloin to develop plasma gasification reactor for on-site hydrogen production from organic waste)

Plagazi, a Swedish cleantech company founded in 2007, has developed a plasma gasification process to produce green hydrogen from non-recyclable organic waste. Their core mission is to help society transition towards a circular economy by converting waste materials into renewable energy sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Challenges: hydrogen fuel

Hydrogen (H₂), the most abundant element in the universe, is not just a fundamental building block of stars—it’s also a vital ingredient in the synthesis of ammonia. Ammonia production is at the heart of creating a plethora of products that we rely on daily, from the fertilizers that nourish our crops to the plastics that are woven into the fabric of modern life.

The majority of the world’s hydrogen (over 60 million tons) is currently produced via steam methane reforming (SMR) process. It involves reacting natural gas with steam at high temperatures to produce hydrogen, carbon monoxide (CO), and a small amount of carbon dioxide (CO₂). This process requires a significant amount of energy input and emits a substantial amount of CO₂. The SMR process emits between 5 and 9 tons of CO₂ per ton of hydrogen produced.

Additionally, centralized industrial plants produce hydrogen, which must travel a great distance to reach its users. Hydrogen transportation involves either pressurizing the hydrogen gas above 300 pounds per square gage (psig) or cryogenically cooling the hydrogen gas to -253 ºC to create liquid hydrogen. According to the International Energy Agency, the cost of hydrogen transportation could be three times that of its production. The best way of opening the expansion of hydrogen usage is to eliminate the need to transport hydrogen.

Plagazi Technology

Plagazi has developed a plasma gasification system that works by exposing the waste materials to extremely high temperatures (over 3,000 ºC) in a plasma reactor. The resulting gasses are then cooled, cleaned, and separated to extract pure hydrogen and capture carbon dioxide. The plasma gasification reactor has the capacity to transform approximately 95% of the waste’s energy into a viable renewable energy source. As a result, the technology enables a circular economy by converting non-recyclable waste into valuable green hydrogen.

How Plagazi converts wastes into hydrogen

The diagram below depicts Plagazi’s plasma gasification reactor system, which converts organic waste into hydrogen (H₂).

Plagazi converts waste into hydrogen (ref. WO2010066281A1)
Plagazi converts waste into hydrogen (ref. WO2010066281A1).

Organic waste enters a loading device, which comprises a crusher  (not shown), a dryer (not shown), and a lock-hopper system.

The crusher crushes the organic waste into smaller particles to increase its homogeneity. This allows easy control of the atmospheric gasses entering the system. The air can affect the gasification process and, thereby, the composition of the obtained synthetic gas. If the organic material has high humidity, the dryer dries the organic waste through the recycling of heat generated in the gas cooling sequence through a heat exchanger. The lock-hopper system enables batch-wise feeding of the organic waste to prevent atmospheric gasses from entering the plasma gasification reactor.

When the organic waste has been treated in the loading device, it enters the gasification reactor.

Plagazi uses an alternating current (AC) plasma generator to gasify organic waste, supplying it with a plasma-forming working gas like air. At a temperature of over 3,000 ºC, the organic substances are gasified and formed into hydrogen, hydrocarbon gas, carbon monoxide (CO), traces of carbon dioxide (CO₂), and slag particles.

After gasifying the organic waste, the gas enters a spray tower (scrubber reactor), which cools and cleans the gas. The cooling process produces waste heat, which a heat exchanger recycles to dry the organic waste feed. This increases the system’s overall efficiency. The gas reacts with the spry liquid, which removes the impurities from the gas through chemical reactions. The scrubber liquid containing the impurities is treated in a separate or integrated liquid-treatment system.

After the spray tower terminates the cooling and cleaning gas, the gas passes through a series of filters to further ensure its purity.

The clean gas (H₂, CO, CO₂, and N₂) is sent to a water-gas-shift (WGS) reactor, where carbon monoxide reacts with water over a catalytic material of Fe₃O₄ to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Pressure swing adsorption (PSA), which circulates the gas to ensure a high and efficient yield of hydrogen, then separates the hydrogen. A membrane filter can further purify the hydrogen. The separation process yields hydrogen products of varying purities. Capturing the separated carbon dioxide reduces carbon emissions.

Finally, hydrogen gas is compressed to be stored in a buffer for on-site applications.

Advantages of Plagazi plasma gasification reactor

Plagazi’s plasma gasification reactor system has several advantages:

  • It is modular and flexible. The modular construction based on standard containers facilitates the transportation and assembly of the system.
  • The gasification reactor can treat various types of non-recyclable wastes, like plastics, auto shredder residue, wind turbine blades, industrial waste, and hazardous waste. The process can be tailored to each customer’s individual needs.
  • The reactor system can be moved and dismantled after usage in one location and relocated to produce hydrogen in another location. The system is easy to set up near the customer, thus eliminating the need to transport hydrogen.
  • The purity of the produced hydrogen can be controlled to meet different applications. The process can produce fuel cell-grade green hydrogen at a lower cost compared to other methods like electrolysis.
  • The efficiency of the plasma gasification reactor can be very high. The reactor can convert about 95% of the waste’s energy into usable energy.

Plagazi Patent

  • WO2010066281A1 System for the production of hydrogen
  • WO2024005690A1 Extraction of phosphorous
  • WO2023191689A1 Method and system for recycling objects made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastics and glass-fiber reinforced plastics
  • SE545831C2 Method for Producing Steel

Plagazi Technology Applications

  • On-site hydrogen production from waste

This is the core application of Plagazi’s technology. Their process can convert a wide variety of non-recyclable waste materials like auto shredder residue, contaminated plastics, wind turbine blades, industrial waste, hazardous waste, medical waste, etc. into green hydrogen through plasma gasification. The green hydrogen produced can be used as a clean fuel to decarbonize heavy industries and hard-to-abate sectors like steel, chemicals, maritime transport, etc. that currently rely on fossil fuels.

  • Waste treatment

Plagazi’s plants can serve as an alternative to incineration plants by treating and recycling non-recyclable waste streams from municipalities, industrial facilities, etc..

Plagazi Products

Plagazi aims to build and operate large-scale industrial plants that implement their patented process to treat waste streams and produce green hydrogen. The company is currently involved in some projects:

  • Köping Hydrogen Park (Sweden)

This is one of Plagazi’s biggest projects and is expected to be one of the largest green hydrogen production facilities in Europe. The plant will replace the local incineration plant in Köping municipality and annually produce 12,000 tons of green hydrogen from 66,000 tons of non-recyclable waste, while also providing 10 MW of district heating. Plagazi has partnered with Petrofac for the early engineering and design work for this project.

  • Project with Gotlandsbolaget (Sweden)

Plagazi has announced a collaboration with Swedish maritime transport company Gotlandsbolaget to supply circular hydrogen produced from locally sourced waste as fuel for Gotlandsbolaget’s next-generation hydrogen-powered vessels like the Gotland Horizon series. This project aims to enable Gotlandsbolaget’s “Destination Zero” climate-neutral initiative for maritime transport in the Baltic Sea region.

  • Project Merida

This is a pre-study order from a major plastic packaging company to assess the feasibility of recycling their plastic waste into green hydrogen using Plagazi’s process.

  • Project with Korn Recycling (Germany)

Plagazi received an order for a feasibility study from German waste recycling company Korn Recycling to implement an on-site Plagazi plant at their waste sorting facility to produce green hydrogen from their waste streams.

  • Collaboration with Samat (Europe)

Plagazi signed a letter of intent with transport and logistics company Samat for the handling and transportation of the liquid CO₂ captured during Plagazi’s hydrogen production process across Europe.

Plagazi Funding

Plagazi has raised a total of SEK73M in funding over 2 rounds:

Their latest funding was raised on Apr 14, 2023 from a Series A round.

The funding types of Plagazi.
The funding types of Plagazi.
The cumulative raised funding of Plagazi.
The cumulative raised funding of Plagazi.

Plagazi Investors

Plagazi is funded by 4 investors:

  • Uturn2innovation
  • Falkenberg Investment Group
  • Gotlandsbolaget
  • Granberg family office

Uturn2innovation and Falkenberg Investment Group are the most recent investors.

The funding rounds by investors of Plagazi.
The funding rounds by investors of Plagazi.

Plagazi Founders

Torsten Granberg is Founder.

Plagazi CEO

Gustav Granberg is CEO.

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