AD Facility Wabico adopts newest CO2 liquefaction technology

18 January 2024
HoSt's own full-scale R&D anaerobic digestion facility Wabico (Waalwijkse Bioenergy Combination) in the Netherlands has been upgraded with our newest in-house CO2 liquefaction technology to produce food-grade liquid bioCO2. Wabico is operational since 2015 and develops continuously. It is a full-scale testing location for research and development of energy technologies and one of the most advanced AD facilities in the world.
CO2 liquefaction at AD plant Wabico - HoSt Group
CO2 liquefaction at AD plant Wabico - HoSt Group

The benefits of bio-CO2 as a refrigerant

The new CO2 liquefier makes use of bio-CO2 as a refrigerant instead of Freon or Ammonia, this a unique technology and offers numerous advantages. Clean CO2 is a natural refrigerant and therefore an environmentally safe option. Additionally, the technology improves the efficiency of the CO2 liquefaction process, resulting in lower overall operational costs and increased production capacity. Using clean CO2 as a refrigerant, results as well in optimized energy consumption.

CO2 liquefaction for improved CI score

A CO2 liquefaction system is an essential add-on technology for any biogas upgrading plant. It improves the carbon intensity (CI) score by recovering and liquefying the CO2 from the biogas upgrading process. The CI score quantifies emissions per unit of energy, and it improves with certain technologies, while incentives such as subsidies encourage the adoption of these environmentally friendly practices.

Through the implementation of the new technology, Wabico is taking important steps towards a more sustainable and efficient bio-CO2 production. In addition to creating extra revenue, small-scale (bio)CO2 production generates liquid food-grade bio-CO2 for the horticulture, food, and refrigeration industries. This approach also solves the problem of reduced CO2 availability from the fertilizer industry, which is caused by the higher price of natural gas.

CO2 liquefaction at AD plant Wabico - HoSt Group

Foundation and evolution of Wabico

The advancements in technology at Wabico have been significant since its foundation and the first successful injection of biomethane into the gas grid in 2015. Subsequent developments included the addition of a new digester, a biogas upgrading system with a higher capacity, and a Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) for biological water purification. By 2021, these improvements, coupled with a connection to the nearby Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Waalwijk, significantly enhanced biomethane capacity. Approximately tripling the output from 2015 levels to 1,500 Nm3 per hour. All these expansions were achieved without disrupting the continuous biomethane supply, which is critical for the transition to renewable energy.

One of the key innovations was the development of a technique to recover and liquefy the CO2 released during the biogas upgrading process. The purified and liquefied bio-CO2 is utilized by greenhouses for crop growth. The advancements over the years, including the most recent upgrade of the CO2 liquefaction system, reflect Wabico’s commitment to sustainable energy and environmental protection.