Big-hitter named to drive forward plans for new Scottish treatment plant

An Edinburgh-based start-up has recruited a leading figure from the sustainability sector to spearhead growth plans which include investing in a new production plant in Scotland.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 4:55 am
Sustainability veteran Ed Craig (second from left) pictured with some of the Carbogenics team. Picture: Chris Watt Photography

Carbogenics, a University of Edinburgh spin-out which works with the farming, wastewater and food waste sectors, has named Ed Craig as its new chief executive.

Craig is founder and former executive director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI), and has also held the post of executive dean at the Centre for Business, Innovation and Enterprise at Staffordshire University.

Founded in 2016, Carbogenics has developed an additive which improves the efficiency of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants which produce biogas for heating properties and liquid fertiliser for farmland. The additive is made using difficult-to-recycle organic waste such as coffee cups and cardboard and helps produce higher quality gas and fertiliser, and increased production efficiency. It can also be used to improve the performance of sewage treatment in the wastewater industry, and as a soil restorer and to lock-in carbon.

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Craig said one of his top priorities is to develop a proposal to construct a treatment plant in Scotland to create the company’s additive which is branded as CreChar.

“AD has a big role to play if we’re serious about Net Zero. There are 700 AD plants in the UK and Carbogenics could transform their efficiency. In doing so, we can help increase the uptake of the technology, which would divert more waste from landfill, reducing emissions,” he said.

“The process we use to create CreChar currently relies on a complex supply chain, with materials being sent to England, Northern Ireland and Norway for processing. It would make much more sense to concentrate our activities on a single Scottish site, and that will definitely form part of my plans for the business so we can move to the next level.”

Craig is an honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh, sits on the international advisory board of Sjtu Low Carbon College in Shanghai, is a senior affiliate to Boston University and advises both SCDI and WWF Scotland. He began his business career in the 1990s in the wastewater treatment sector.

Carbogenics, is based in the university’s King’s Buildings. It has a staff of seven but expects this to rise to ten by the end of this year.

Stuart Haszeldine, professor of carbon capture and storage at the University of Edinburgh, welcomed the appointment and said Craig brought “huge energy, knowledge, network and many years of experience working in the climate change arena”.

“His role previously at the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute in leading climate innovation activities, coaching and advising academics and startups through the University of Edinburgh incubators has earned him a powerful reputation for challenging assumptions and raising ambitions,” he said.

Carbogenics is part of Scotland’s fast-growing circular economy sector which aims to reduce waste and keep resources in use for as long as possible.

The newly formed Holyrood administration has appointed a new minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity and has pledged to introduce a Circular Economy Bill within this parliament.

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