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There's nothing quite as pleasing as someone else mentioning you in their book - so Blenheim-based CarbonScape must have a grin from ear to ear at the moment.

It, and its patented microwave technology that can continuously produce activated carbon from wood and other waste, is the only New Zealand enterprise featured in British futurologist, Mark Stevenson's book.

Stevenson, a writer, stand-up comedian, cultural education consultant, as well as a musician and expert in prime number cryptography (what can't he do!), traveled the world in search of new technologies that could transform the way our world looks.

The result is, 'An Optimist's Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out to Answer "What's Next?"'

CarbonScape's process produces AC, which in its own right has a diverse range of uses including cleaning contaminated soil and water, and capturing significant quantities of carbon dioxide emissions from power stations. Burying this charcoal is an effective form of carbon sequestration. (See other sticK stories hereand here).

AC is used in metallurgy, chemistry, agriculture, gold extraction, nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, medicine and food processing.

By tweaking the microwave, valuable oil and gas by-products can also be extracted from the woody wastes, and even though AC can be extremely valuable in its own right, the capture and utilisation of the other 'bits' is even more promising.

CarbonScape is currently scaling up its testing, and a pilot site has begun batch scale production in Marlborough. The company is looking for the right partners to take the technology to the world.
The company is in exalted company in Stevenson's book.

It is featured alongside Nobel prize-winners, presidents and the leading scientists of the day at Harvard, MIT and Cornell Universities. Along the way, Stevenson talked to experts in fields such as genetics, robotics and nanotechnology.

Apparently the Wall Street Journal has described the book as being 'sharp and fascinating', while the New Statesman says 'it's the best science book I've read for a long time."

All CarbonScape will be hoping is that Stevenson's interest translates into worldwide investor awareness as it cranks up the microwave method's commercial cred. It is a promising technology, that, as Stevenson has identified, could be great for the planet.

Microwaved charcoal technology gets thumbs up from British science writer

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