When we last heard from UK-based award-winning company Antaco, it had just secured its first multimillion-pound contract to recycle a water utility’s sludge – the contract being the first of its kind for Europe. We now find them on-site in Switzerland at an undisclosed location in the process of integrating their HTC technology to their customer’s wastewater treatment plant.

In this interview, we catch up with Antaco’s CEO & Founder Dominik Peus, to find out how they are getting on and how they see the future of organic waste.

1. What exactly does Antaco do and how does the bio coal process work?

Antaco’s technology converts any type of organic waste into a solid biofuel, termed biocoal.

Nowadays, waste is seen as a real problem and millions of tonnes, such as household food and garden waste, are thrown away everyday throughout the world. There is real value in waste, and that’s why we believe in putting our waste to work.

We offer a game-changing solution for organic waste disposal. Supported by the UK Government, we have developed a revolutionary waste processing technology, transforming any type of organic waste into carbon-neutral fuel, we call, “biocoal”.

It is based on Hydrothermal Carbonisation (HTC). A highly efficient process, which replicates the natural process of coal generation. The chemistry happens only at oven temperature and pressure to chemically transform organic waste into a carbon dense material with similar or better properties as fossil coal.

2. How did you decide to pick up on this revolutionary technology?

Back in 2006 I came across an article in the news. It talked about the rediscovery of the process of converting organic waste into artificial coal. I was immediately intrigued. Using waste, something considered worthless, to create value, carbon neutral energy? It sounded like an ingenious idea! Reading about this process, I remembered my time as volunteer for a local charity in the Peruvian Amazon. Here, power cuts were continuous and the lack of clean water a serious issue. Could the process of transforming waste into energy also be a solution for “developing” countries? It sounded too good to be true so I tested this magic process in my garage at home. I was able to verify the chemistry and found it worth pursuing and developed a vision.

3. Where does Antaco stand today?

We have had several companies that have come to us off the back of feasibility studies. They say, ‘we have heard about HTC, and our research led us to you’. We have also just acquired our first customer, a Swiss waste water company seeking to increase their processing capacity, whilst at the same time, reducing their energy consumption and carbon emissions. Antaco is paid for every tonne of sludge we process, which provides us with a continuous revenue stream. Waste processing activities are profitable in their own right, without the sale of the subsequent biocoal product. Our biocoal can be used as a direct replacement for fossil coal. It can be used in domestic pellet ovens as well as existing industrial energy infrastructure. As a result, we currently have numerous ‘offtake’ conversations underway with power suppliers.

4. On World Science Day for Peace and Development, how do you think Antaco’s technology can help ‘leaving no one behind’?

World Science Day reminds us of the importance, science has for the sustainable development of all nations. It also highlights the potential, science has to provide solutions for many of the issues, countries face. For instance, the access to clean and affordable energy. For Antaco, I believe that we first have to focus on building Antaco as a company. However, once established in the “developed” world, we will look into making our technology more efficient and economically viable for the developing countries. We have had several enquiries from Southern Asia and various African countries, wanting to get rid of their organic waste and invest into renewable energy. This is an exciting opportunity and something we may look at in the future.

5. What’s next for Antaco?

As a business we continue to grow. To-date, we have raised in excess of £6m, won multiple awards, and already have more than 40 shareholders. We are now looking to raise £1m to expand operational capacity, build our team, and capitalise on the growing number of market opportunities. With £0.5m already secured, we intend to launch our fundraising campaign on Crowdcube in the next few weeks to give everyone the chance to own a little of Antaco.

Interested in becoming part of Antaco’s carbon neutral journey? Register now for early access and be one of the first people to invest!