Green CO₂ from a Dorset farm marks the launch of a pioneering model for the UK’s CO₂ industry, and aims to ensure there is no repeat of the industry-wide shortages experienced in 2018.
J V Energen’s new CO₂ capture facility, at Rainbarrow Farm, supplies the ‘green’ CO₂ to their new joint venture business BioCarbonics Ltd, from a full-scale Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and biomethane-to-grid plant. The result is a clean, sustainably sourced product for local businesses.
The high-quality food and beverage grade product is used for carbonation of bottled and canned drinks, in distribution to pubs for on-site carbonation of beers, ciders and ales, and in horticulture to stimulate photosynthesis for the better production of fruit and vegetables, as well as other various applications.
Championed by The Prince of Wales, Rainbarrow Farm AD plant was the UKs first commercial biomethane-to-grid plant, currently generating enough gas to reach 7,500 houses mid-winter and over 100,000 houses in summer, five times the population of Dorchester. Biogas produced at Rainbarrow Farm was first cleaned and injected as biomethane into the national gas network on 11 October 2012.
Christopher Carson, BioCarbonics managing director, explains: “Most of the CO₂ used in the UK comes from industrial fossil fuel processes with a historically unreliable continuity of supply.
“BioCarbonics is changing that by relying on multiple, smaller sources of green CO₂, which is recovered from biomethane production, where clean, green feedstocks are being converted into green gas for use in the national gas network to heat local homes and businesses.
“To safeguard against CO₂ shortages, Rainbarrow Farm is one of two facilities in BioCarbonics’ growing network. The other facility, located in Herefordshire, has been active since June 2019. Together, these two facilities produce over 40 lorries per month of green liquid CO₂.”
As well as the CO₂ being utilised locally, the digestate by-product is used as an organic, peat free, nutrient soil enricher called ‘Bloomin Amazing ™’, which is bagged as a soil enricher for sale to over 350 garden centres, and helps local farmers significantly reduce reliance on artificial fertilisers.
The management is actively looking to find other AD biomethane to grid producers who are interested in supplying CO₂ to BioCarbonics to help grow this network.