Coal Char – Production and Properties

Overview of Technology

This invention is an engineered high surface area coal adsorbent for the treatment of contaminated water. It removes agricultural waste (such as nitrate and phosphates) from contaminated water. 

Technology Description 

This technology involves the development of an engineered, high surface area coal-based absorbent (Ca-L or modified activated lignite) aimed at the agriculture sector for soil amendment and water remediation. This technology is able to remove phosphates from aqueous solutions such as water. This technology resolves the issues of water pollution and soil depletion which are prevalent issues of high cost, large scale productions. 

Background on technology

Phosphorus is an essential, primary nutrient for photosynthetic organisms in aquatic environments, and is naturally present in low concentrations. Environmental aqueous systems contain phosphorus primarily as phosphates. Phosphate is a major cause of eutrophication since it is often the limiting nutrient for explosive algal growth. Low concentrations can cause eutrophication, which occurs as the dense growth of blue green algae and hyacinth-like plants, resulting in short and long-term ecological effects. 


  • High-surface area coverage
  • Specific for agricultural matters
  • Aids in soil amendment and water remediation
  • Less unit weight of phosphate removal costs 
  • More environmentally friendly 


  • This technology is looking for the ability to up-scale the manufacturing and optimize the recipe of this method, with the assistance of funding to support these intentions. 


  • This technology has very practical applications and can be used in the future such as being a coal based adsorbent for removing oil from water, and furthermore becoming a product for removing phosphates from agricultural runoff. The Ca-L determined high selectivity of phosphate removal indicating the possibility to become a slow-release phosphate fertilizer.


Contact Information

TTO Home Page:

Name: Jeremy Clay

Title: Director

Department: Office of Technology Management