Engineered organic carbon-based functional material for energy and water (EMERGE)

Start Date:

01st of June 2023

End Date:

30th of November 2024

Funding Body:

Science Foundation Ireland under National Challenge Fund 2023 program


Dr Kunwar Paritosh, Postdoc Researcher, University College Cork (UCC), Ireland; Environmental Research Institute, UCC; Circular Economy, Energy and Environmental Systems (CEEES) Research group, MaREI, the SFI Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine. 

Project Partners:

Irish Distillers Ltd, Middleton, Cork  

Principal Investigators:

Dr Kunwar Paritosh and Dr Archishman Bose

Research Area:

Advanced Fuels in the Circular Economy; Circular Bioeconomy and Biorefinery




The EMERGE project aims to provide a sustainable technological solution to three different key sectors in Ireland’s economy viz distillery, biopharmaceutical, and transport. The EMERGE project will utilise the digestate from anaerobic digesters (ADs) operating using distillery by-products to produce pyrochar and hydrochar. While engineered pyrochar/ hydrochar would allow safe and economic use of the AD effluents, it would form a novel adsorbent for the removal of novel and emerging contaminants from the biopharmaceutical industries (Figure). Engineered pyrochar/ hydrochar can also be used as sustainable energy-dense material for electrodes in batteries aiding electrification of transport. This project will thus allow the effective implementation of AD to decarbonise the hard-to-abate sector of heat while also enabling decarbonisation of transport by reducing the costs of batteries. Thus, this project will allow substantial reduction of GHG emissions

 Emerge_ Introduction


The aim of the EMERGE is to research testing the engineered carbon-based materials for three primary applications, namely:

  1. Energy materials and energy storage as electrode materials for batteries, capacitors, and supercapacitors. The enhanced surface area, conductivity and stable 3-D like structure may help to achieve higher energy and current density which could be close to the existing fossil-based carbon electrode.
  2. Novel adsorbent materials for water purification. Engineered bio-based materials will have higher surface area which may help in adsorbing the emerging contaminants from bio-pharma wastewater like tetracycline (TC), sulfamethoxazole (SMX), norfloxacin (NOR) or ofloxacin (OFL).

Low-carbon fuel production via their use as additives for exiting anaerobic digesters. This is based on the recent study published by Deng et al. (2021) that biochar additional significantly increases performance of AD via promoting direct interspecies electron transfer and therefore acting as a much cheaper and sustainable alternative to carbon graphite. 

Work Packages

This project is divided into CONCEPT and SEED phase.


  1. State of the Art review
  2. Initial trials of material
  3. Screening of materials
  4. Initial characterization
  5. Team development 

SEED phase WP:

  1. Development of modification processes
  2. Laboratory scale testing
  3. Integration of lab results into process models
  4. Preliminary process-mechanical design of system

 Emerge_ Work Packaging


Dr Kunwar Paritosh

Funded Investigator (Science Foundation Ireland)

PostDoc Researcher & Manager (Laboratory)

Circular Economy, Energy & Environmental systems Research Group

Advanced fuels in circular economy

Environment Research Institute (ERI)

MaREI Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine (MaREI)

Ellen Hutchins Building

University College Cork (UCC)

Lee Road, Cork City,



Dr Archishman Bose

BEng (JU), MSc (KTH, PoliTo) PhD (UCC)

Eli Lilly Lecturer, Process and Chemical Engineering,

School of Engineering and Architecture

University College Cork

College Road, Cork, T12 K8AF, Ireland

Affiliate PI, Environmental Research Institute

Circular Economy, Energy and Environmental Systems (CEEES) Research Group

MaREI Centre for Energy Climate and Marine