Netherlands-based Frames announces the first carbon neutral system for heating and supplying CO2 for industrial-scale, greenhouse growers. Successfully demonstrated by DES B.V., a cooperative association of growers including VOF Prominent Grevelingen, DT van Noord tomatoes and Van Duijn aubergines, the biomass system will save the growers more than 6.5 million m3 of natural gas, and 12 million kilos of fossil CO2 emissions per year.
The Frames biomass fuelled system uses advanced carbon capture and cleaning technology to produce high quality CO2 used to promote plant growth. Carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment is commonly used in greenhouses to encourage crops to maximise their photosynthesis. Until now, greenhouse growers have relied on using a combination of fossil fuel (natural gas) combustion with air heaters and liquid CO2. However, with the Dutch government committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 2030 to 49% of 1990 levels, the horticultural industry needs to find more environmentally friendly alternatives. Previous attempts to use CO2 from biomass have been inhibited by the high level of pollutants in the flue gases.
Combination of techniques
The heat and green CO2 from the Frames process is used by the growers in their production processes. "Unique about the project is the capture of the green CO2 from the flue gases. The CO2 is used to promote plant growth in cultivation," says Pleun van Duijn, one of the founders of DES B.V. In Europe, this combination of techniques has not been used on this scale before, partly due to the complex integration of the different technologies. The cooperation between the three horticultural companies provides economies of scale, making it an environmentally and economically carbon neutral solution.
Sustainability and savings
By using heat from biomass, more than 6.5 million m3 of natural gas is saved per year. In addition, the use of biomass as fuel saves 12 million kilos of fossil CO2 emissions per year. "We want to make our cultivation more sustainable," says van Duijn. "That's why we now opt for an innovative and sustainable replacement of a large part of the CO2 and fossil heat used in the plant production process."
Carbon Capture with Galloxol technology
Located on the premises of the University of Twente campus in Enschede, Frames’ experience of CO2 goes back a number of years. It first designed CO2 capture units for the oil and gas industry by applying Galloxol technology originally developed in the Netherlands, to the needs of an industrial-scale process. Five years ago, the company began adapting its Galloxol technology for CO2 removal in the biogas market.
“Our breakthrough for greenhouse CO2 recovery came when we realised that both heat production and CO2 emissions are features of the same system, so why not tackle both at the same time’, says Nick ten Asbroek, Product Specialist, Frames. “We contacted Vyncke biomass boiler maker and worked with them to develop the complete system.”
“To our knowledge this is the first demo designed to produce greenhouse quality CO2 that includes all the required process steps: automation, heat integration and CO2 storage. It is also of significant size compared to earlier pilots that focussed only on the capture of CO2 and did not demonstrate a commercially viable pilot solution.”
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