Kiwi clean-tech outfit Carbonscape is heading to the final of an international green technology competition with a chance of winning close to $800,000, which its says would be spent taking its business plan to market.
The Blenheim-based company, which has developed a process for turning sawmill waste into valuable materials including graphite and activated carbon, has already won more than $150,000 by becoming one of three finalists in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge.
The challenge is billed as "a worldwide competition for sustainable and innovative ideas".
Carbonscape directors Nick Gerritsen and Tim Langley will now travel to New York, where the competition's grand final is being held.
If the company takes the top prize, its winnings will total more than $780,000.
In the final, Carbonscape is up against United States firm Mango Materials, which uses bacteria to convert methane to plastic, and Peerby from the Netherlands, which puts con-sumers in touch with neighbours who can rent or loan goods they need.
Gerritsen said the competition was a big breakthrough for Carbonscape.
"This win will give us huge exposure to potential customers and investors," he said.
"These awards have a big following internationally and the dinner in New York will be very much a top-drawer affair."
Carbonscape's industrial microwave technology heats waste at up to 3000C, creating a process called pyrolysisation.
"Pyrolysis basically creates three product sets - we get charcoal or carbon, bio oil and syngas," Gerritsen told the Business Herald last year.
At that time he said Carbonscape's focus was on producing carbon products, used by many billion-dollar industries around the world.
One of those products, activated carbon, could be used to filter water or soak up polluting industrial waste gases, and sold for up to US$5000 ($6047) a tonne.
Gerritsen said last year that Carbonscape planned to license its technology to organisations - such as sawmills - and collect royalties on production.