Our origin

In the 1990s, our CTO Joachim Böttcher founded a planning and development office for sustainable water management, which from then on carried out the project planning, design and implementation of nature-based processes and plants for wastewater treatment. In the years that followed, hundreds of plants for the treatment of communal, commercial, industrial and even special wastewater were successfully realised. In addition to practical implementation, the company has always maintained a close relationship with science and research, on the basis of which numerous joint research projects were developed. The company’s own standards were high, because it was not just about wastewater treatment – it was about the greatest possible recycling management! As a result, the company’s own processes were constantly being further developed, so that even then it already had a certain technological edge on the market.

At the end of 2005, Joachim became aware of Terra Preta and was electrified from then on. It was unacceptable that scientists from all over the world had been unable to research the production method for this fertile soil for over 20 years. One thing was clear to Joachim; if he and his team could find the answer, it would be the missing link on the road to a fully circular economy that he had always been looking for. And they succeeded – even with scientific confirmation.

From then on, the company concentrated on the development of technical processes and ready-to-use products from liquid and solid biogenic material flows based on the ancient principle of the former indigenous civilisation on the Amazon. Joachim Böttcher: “Every day that we worked with Terra Preta, the potential and fields of application grew. We received enquiries from universities and interested people from all over the world. Our small company was not at all prepared for this”.

To make matters worse, the approval of products containing biochar from organic residues was extremely problematic at the time due to the German Fertiliser Ordinance. The topic of “Terra Preta” was completely new territory for the authorities, which meant that they often acted rather restrictively and delayed approval procedures. To this day, composting and fermentation are the generally used and legally authorised methods for treating organic waste. However, in times of resource scarcity, soil degradation and climate crisis, composting should be viewed extremely critically! There were practically no legal regulations for the use of biochar or the fermentation process. Instead, the agricultural approval of biochar-based products was more or less blocked by the German Fertiliser Ordinance, which was in force until recently.

It was not until the European Fertiliser Ordinance came into force in June 2022 that the course was set for a comprehensive circular economy – products with biochar based on organic residues can now finally be used in horticulture and agriculture, exactly as Joachim and his team had been demanding for years.

Despite these gruelling years of development with many bureaucratic hurdles and technical challenges, we have succeeded in launching several pioneering lighthouse projects, including numerous municipal and industrial wastewater recycling plants with ricionaqua “HBF” high-performance soil filters. These were even successfully used to eliminate micropollutants from wastewater treatment plant effluents as part of the INTERREG project EMISURE. The development of the innovative “ricionG2H” fermentation residue treatment plant at the Groß-Gerau public utility company and the design of a blue-green “ricionoase21” neighbourhood concept for Riegel am Kaiserstuhl were also the results of this gruelling pioneering work.

This created the solid foundation that enables us to “turn the big wheel” today!

We still needed courageous people – and we needed capital. Thanks to the foresight and patience of some committed founding shareholders, ricion AG was brought to life in May 2022. Our founding shareholder Joachim Böttcher contributed his process and product expertise as well as his extensive property rights to the AG and took up the position of Technical Director.

The enormous knowledge advantage, the excellent key technologies and a bouquet of high-performance products enable ricion AG to contribute outstanding, overall systemic solutions to global challenges and at the same time enable the best possible added value for the partners and customers involved.