With part one of the series focusing on the wider trend for CO2 recovery and utilisation, the second part looked again at utilisation, primarily within the dry ice sector, trends in sourcing, supply, and CO2-related technology and biogenic CO2, sponsored by LogiCO2, and hosted by gasworld Global Managing Editor, Rob Cockerill.
First guest, Jesper Holmgard, Sales Director, Aquila Triventek spoke about the growth and driving factors of today’s dry ice markets during the turmoil of a global pandemic, saying, “We’ve seen large dry ice consumers like the airlines come to an almost complete stop.”
“But at the same time, the pharma industry has seen a rapid increase in consumption of dry ice for cooling of vaccines during distribution.”
Holmgard also spoke about the new markets that have emerged, for example the increased demand for dry ice for cooling purposes in home food delivery. Instead of relying on third parties, more and more companies have decided to produce their own dry ice.
He also suggested that, as industries begin to increase operations after the pandemic, the demand for dry ice is increasing. He said, “Now the airlines are beginning to operate again, as well as other users, and new ones like automated solutions using dry ice for surface treatment, the boring, cleaning, and demand for dry ice is increasing.”
When asked about the growing applications for dry ice and whether recovery and efficiency is a theme in dry ice circles, Holmgard talked about the environmental impacts of CO2 in dry ice production.
Referencing a European Industrial Gases Associations report on such environmental impacts, he said, “The gas industry should have a policy to reduce CO2 emissions from the dry ice production units as part of the commitment to climate change. CO2 recovery has mainly been part of large dry ice production, but the changes mentioned earlier calls for new solutions for dry ice producers.”
Providing a case story of the value of implementing recovery systems, he said that by using recovery systems the daily liquid CO2 production associated with dry ice production could be brought down from five tonnes to 2.6 tonnes, a reduction of 48%.
Holmgard also noted the benefits of the estimated tank recharge frequency, saying, “Based on a recharge over 20 times liquid CO2 per delivery, without gas and recovery, you need to have a refill of your tank every four days, with a gas recovery you need it every seven and a half days.”
Concluding, he summarised the total benefits of implementing a recovery system. In addition to reducing production costs by up to 50%, CO2 waste can be reduced to around 10%. He also said, “From 55% to 60%, you will gain more dry ice from your CO2 tank, you will have less refill of your CO2 tank, which makes you also less vulnerable during the CO2 shortages, you have less transport of CO2 by truck.”
This reduction in transport frequency also reduces the carbon footprint.
The growing world of biogenic CO2
Next up was Christopher Carson, Founder, Principal Director, Carbonic Solutions, who discussed the impact of CO2 activities and biogenic CO2.
Considering it important to talk about CO2 from a market standpoint, he defined the CO2 market as the market for liquid CO2 that’s delivered to customers in bulk and usually in 20 tonne deliveries.
Mentioning that he isn’t talking about the gas supply to large users such as enhanced oil recovery or the production of urea, ammonia or methanol, he said, “We’re really focussing on the bulk users, what we call the merchant bulk market for liquid CO2.”
“And how big is that market overall? Worldwide, it’s about somewhere between 20 and 22 million tonnes per year. North America makes up about half of that and then the rest is split between Europe at about five to six million tonnes per year, and then Asia and the rest of the world at about five to six million tonnes per year.”
Segueing into the environmental impact of this market, Carson went on to say, “The estimate is that we emit somewhere around 42bn tonnes of CO2 per year into the atmosphere and our market is capturing and utilising 20 to 22 million tonnes per year.”
“So that’s about point one percent of the overall CO2 that’s going up into the air, so it’s a really small, focussed niche market.”
Carson then discussed the potential of an area in which Carbonic Solutions are heavily invested, biogenic CO2. Biogenic CO2 is CO2 that’s captured from biogases such as ammonia. By taking carbon from a biogas production process and utilising it in another industry, a cyclical usage process is formed resulting in a lower impact to the environment.
He went on to say, “Biogas is produced from anaerobic digestion process where you digest biomass and it produces biogas, very similar process to what goes on in the bio ethanol industry.”
This biogenic CO2 can be used in multiple industries including the carbonated soft drink industry. Carson noted that market perception is important, especially with those in involved within such sectors, saying, “Those players are very cautious with new sources of CO2 and they want to watch and see before they start using CO2 from sources that aren’t proven, although it’s been around for four to five years it’s still seen as new into the industry and unproven from their standpoint.”
With not all gas sources being the same, this wariness is justified to an extent, although Caron does see industries in general warming to the concept. He said, “I think we’ll become more and more comfortable with the fact that this CO2 can be used in the industry, and it is absolutely fit for purpose for our industry.”
With eight to 10 recovery plants in the UK producing about 40 or 50 thousand tonnes of biogas per year, with similar amounts across other European countries, as well as the Phillippines, he sees biogenic biogas sources playing an important role in the future and increasing CO2 production capacity all the way across the globe.
CO2 trends, technologies and applications
The final guest of the day was Alfonso Peschiera, Global Product Manager, High Pressure Gases and Service at Atlas Copco. He spoke about technologies involved in boosting CO2 production and Atlas Copco’s big applications.
When asked about the company’s growing activities, he mentioned that the company specialises mostly in compressors and with the focus on CO2 technologies, Atlas Copco have investigated the integration of CO2.
He said, “From the point of view of technology on our side, we’ve tried to bring kind of different set ups or CO2 compression. Now we know there’s many new applications for CO2 recently, which require a wide variety of flows and pressures to get the gas in.”
“So we go from very traditional applications like a brewery to recovery or the fermentation process of the recovery where small flows, relatively higher pressures are needed for liquefaction of CO2 on site or utilisation from that to fertiliser or ammonia based recovery, where we need much larger fields based on the scale of the plant.”
Continuing, he said that Atlas Copco have tried to adjust different components of its portfolio to match such technologies.
Discussing the company’s strong points within the CO2 sector, Carson said, “Our main experience has been largely in industrial markets, mainly related to food and beverage applications. This is where we are also quite strong in other gas compression processes.”
With the traditional process being in brewery and fermentation related CO2 management, the company is becoming increasingly focused on plants that utilise CO2. Compression has become a useful way, in technologies such as autoclaves to sterilise rice and grains, to recycling and recover the CO2 produced by the plants, keeping a “closed loop” in the plant.
He also went on to say that Atlas Copco is aware of the regulations on CO2 purity being increased and that an emphasis is being placed on ensuring the quality of CO2.
When asked by editor Rob Cockerill about wider trends of CO2, Carson said the trends he was seeing were in line with those elucidated by the webinar’s previous guests.
Relating it to his own specialisation, he said, “I would say between CO2 producers and CO2 consumers, we’ve worked in projects where large scale producers are now piping pressurised CO2 using compressors to greenhouses to improve growth of different parts.”
“I think these processes are becoming more and more common where large industrial or chemical processes where CO2 is not recovered is being recovered. This is clearly a trend.”
He also touched upon renewable hydrogen production, stating that there is an intention to transform hydrogen production into a greener process by capturing carbon from the traditional ways of producing it. Blue hydrogen is a market that he sees as becoming an important part of the energy industry.