Viridor has signed an agreement with a Dutch technology firm to deliver a ‘gas clean-up system’ which will turn landfill gas into transport fuels.
The deal with CarbonOrO – described by Viridor as a “£2million innovation investment” – will see the first plant installation at Viridor’s Dunbar landfill site in Scotland next year, where it will be integrated into existing facilities.
If commercially successful, Viridor says it will be rolled out to the rest of its landfill portfolio.
Talking through the process, Viridor’s head of innovation and technology, Marcus Du Pree Thomas, said it involves the stripping and low temperature regeneration of carbon dioxide capture from methane content of landfill gas.
“Once the gas has been liberated from landfill, this energy-efficient CO2-scrubbing process can be used to create a transport fuel with future applications, including supply agreements with UK filling stations, and the CO2 successfully captured and harnessed for third party applications such as in agriculture and the chemical/manufacturing industries.
“This is an incredibly efficient process with the methane gas cleaned to fuel grades in a matter of minutes.”
He said at a site like Dunbar, this could create fuel for 34,000 vehicles a year and deliver a carbon saving of 380 tonnes a year compared to diesel and when fully integrated.
The plant will also use free heat from Viridor’s energy from waste plant on the Dunbar site.
- Dunbar launch: Viridor MD Phil Piddington (front, right); CarbonOrO general manager Pieter Verberne (front, left); Viridor’s head of innovation and technology, Marcus Du Pree Thomas (back, left); and Viridor project manager (CarbonOrO project) John McLardy (back, right).
- The Viridor Dunbar site, with the EfW plant to the left and the landfill on the right. Heat will drawn from energy plant for the new fuels project.
On a video on CarbonOrO’s website, embedded below, its general manager Pieter Verberne said the technology works with a unique fluid that absorbs CO2 from the gas at 40°C.
“Everyone will know that CO2 emissions form burning fossil fuels cause global warming. We want to introduce biomethane, sustainable gas as an alternative for fossil, natural gas and try to capture CO2 and turn it into something useful,” Mr Verberne said.
He added: “Removing CO2 gas is an energy intensive process, but we can do this in an efficient way, at low temperatures. To run this with free heat means 50% less energy costs than prevailing companies.”
Methane gas is produced at landfill sites when waste naturally begins to decompose. It’s thought around 60% of landfill gasses are methane while the remaining 40% is largely carbon dioxide, according to research.
In an uncontrolled state when landfill gas is allowed to escape to atmosphere, it is classed as a greenhouse gas. However, it can be captured and used for the production of power, where it can be a useful and renewable energy source.
(below: promotional video with English subtitles about the CarbonOrO process)
The CarbonOrO technology will be installed at the Dunbar site next year and commissioning will take place in the summer of 2020.
Viridor managing director Phil Piddington stated that the technology shows the company’s commitment to dealing with harmful landfill gasses.
“With the natural life of incentives, such as landfill gas renewable obligation certificates coming to the end in 2026/7, it is essential for our sector to develop new technologies and applications,” he explained.
Mr Piddington added: “We look forward to the Dunbar commercialisation delivering results which will enable us to use CarbonOrO’s unique technique across our portfolio of landfill sites. This investment in innovative technology is also an important development for the closed landfill sites but which form part of Viridor’s aftercare programme.”