Speaking at gasworld’s recent Industrial Gases: Driving on in Digitisation & Diversification webinar, Christopher Carson, Founder & Director at Carbonic Solutions, said there were a lot of “bright spots” on the subject of alternative sources.
”We’re hearing rumours out in the market that the big bottlers, who may have discounted biogas sources, are opening their minds to see what it would take to accept sources. There is activity in the marketplace, people are receptive and seeing the need.”
He said it works with its UK customers on a regular basis, producing audits to ensure systems are in place to guarantee safety and food quality.
BioCarbonics’ carbon capture model supports plant owners from conceptual design through installation and start-up of their CO2 plants, and works with them to install and operate quality systems and equipment that ensures their product meets food and beverage quality certification.
“We have had some great meetings with industry colleagues in the US too, where we talked about analytics and quality systems in place. Those type of activities are getting talked about a lot more than they were a year ago.”
Green CO2 produced from biogas has a higher reliability of supply, and is a more sustainable product than the traditional CO2 sourced from fossil fuel sources. In addition, capturing and utilising this CO2 contributes to the RHI sustainability criteria for AD plants, and can boost the bottom line with long-term offtake agreements.
The importance of quality data and transparency
Two of the biggest movements in the gases industry today are digitisation and decentralisation of resources.
A key element of the digitisation drive is the ability to produce quality data, emphasised Carson.
“How do we make data more available to our customer base, and make it more transparent so people can see what our sites are doing, so it’s not ‘behind the curtain’ or in the shadows? We’ve had some real eye-opening discussions in the US. I see a lot more activity around biogas and RNG, so it’s not all doom and gloom.”
But he acknowledged several challenges such as long lead times for equipment, the length of time to set up alternative sources and the key issue of producing them at scale. Billingham has a capacity to produce 250,000/300,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Carson added, “We need to get busy and serious about it. This isn’t a gold rush – probably my biggest concern right now is that those who have CO2 hear about the shortages and then think they have gold. Then it becomes even harder to develop these sources. It’s very dificult to find a business propostion that will reward everyone in the supply chain fairly, so we can get reasonably priced product to end users.”
“We need to build supply chains for the long term, not for a year that serves a spot market up in the atmosphere, but one that will support a market for the next 20 to 30 years.”