Legendary Glastonbury farm using bovine excreta power plant adds graphene boffinry

This is not BS, it's cutting-edge material science

Worthy Farm, host of the world-famous Glastonbury music festival, already uses cow manure to produce power – and will now allow Cambridge startup Levidian to insert its tech into that carbon-producing process, thereby producing graphene.

Levidian is a British climate technology biz working on what it calls LOOP: A process to convert captured carbon waste into graphene and hydrogen. This lowers pollution, and turns waste into something more useful.

The business has taken an interest in Worthy Farm's anaerobic digestion plant, which produces power as well as carbon as a byproduct. Specifically, Worthy takes what's said to be "tens of thousands of tonnes of cow slurry and waste silage" and turns it into energy.

Levidian will bring its LOOP technology in the plant, using that biomethane from the cow waste to generate graphene, in what it claims is "a world-first example of carbon negative hydrogen production from biomethane."

"The installation is expected to deliver a saving of up to 25 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year, while the graphene will be sold as an additive to boost the performance of products as wide-ranging as batteries, concrete and plastics," Levidian declared in a statement.

While graphene has been theorized to be useful for all sorts of applications – thanks to being incredibly strong, light, and capable of conducting both heat and electricity – in practice it hasn't changed the world much yet. It was created two decades ago, but the first graphene-based product only came to market in 2020: A face mask.

A more exciting use case for graphene is semiconductors, and although the first graphene-based chip was finally made earlier this year, it will probably be a very long time before we see them in real products. After all, the chip industry is slow to move – all the cutting-edge fabs are poised to use silicon for the next few years, with no signs of switching to another material.

What's more, graphene isn't the only carbon-based super-material out there anymore. Graphullerene was synthesized last year and boasts even better (albeit hypothetical) attributes.

Perhaps more practical in the short term is the hydrogen that is also produced by LOOP, which Levidian said is the "lowest cost clean hydrogen in the world." Hydrogen is seen as one of the best clean energy sources, since it only produces water as a byproduct, and has lately been used by datacenters. However, getting hydrogen in the first place usually requires fossil fuels – offsetting how green it technically is.

Granted, animal farms also produce carbon emissions – though it's unlikely they will be replaced by lab-grown meat before fossil fuels are kicked to the curb by renewable energy.

Levidian is seemingly confident about its hydrogen production, and has recruited another climate tech firm, Hexla, to help it deploy 300 LOOP installations around the world. It claims this will cut carbon emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons per year. ®

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