Atlas Copco scores in biogas upgrading pilot project with low pressure CO2 absorber

September 9, 2015

Cirmac International bv, part of Atlas Copco Group, was recently awarded for the project "High efficiency Low Pressure CO2 Absorber LP Cooab®". The presented solutions will offer environmental friendly and cost efficient upgrading of biogas to higher qualities.

Biogas installation

One of the ambitions of the Dutch government is to achieve that 20% of the energy supply is sustainable by 2020. Acting upon these targets, the department Energy and Climate of, invited companies to propose projects to make the fermentation chain more effective and efficient. Although biogas upgrading to green gas already has a high efficiency compared with the production of electricity from biogas, Atlas Copco believes that there is room for improvement still. The goals of the pilot project have been clearly defined: Reduction of the green gas cost price, lower environmental impact by reducing CO2 emission, reduction of the system energy consumption and efficient biogas upgrading to higher qualities in order to gain Liquified Bio Gas (LBG). The LP Cooab® technology is based on low pressure reversible chemical absorption, specifically designed to remove CO 2 from biogas. An essential element in this process is the absorption liquid, in this case a special amine composition with Cirmac’s trade name ‘CO 2 Absorber LP Cooab®’.

The positive feedback is really motivating. ” says Horst Wasel, President of Atlas Copco Quality Air Division,“I am convinced that the final results and findings of this project will cope with our high expectations. These technologies will not only strengthen our leading position but also enable us to grow - together with this future oriented market segment.

Cirmac is realizing the project together with Royal Haskoning Consulting, responsible for project management, monitoring plan and market investigation, and with Waterschap Veluwe, a waste water treatment company which supplies the location and biogas for the pilot project. Being a biogas pioneer since the mid-eighties, Atlas Copco has accumulated extensive knowledge and experience in the field of biogas upgrading and grid injection, natural gas boosting and vehicle fueling by acquiring highly-specialized companies with a worldwide reputation: Cirmac, Greenfield and Intermech. Consequently, Atlas Copco has evolved into a fully-grown industrial player in the biogas field.

Additional background information

Who can benefit from biogas and Green gas?

Farmers, landfill owners, waste handlers, municipalities, industrial companies such as food & beverage producers, water companies. Processing of the available biomass and organic waste into biomethane provides an additional attractive business opportunity. Anaerobic digester manufacturers, project developers and general contractors see their projects being faster delivered. On top of the business opportunity offered by biogas upgrading, a greener image is attractive to gas grid operators, gas suppliers, vehicle fleet owners, investment companies.

Biogas and biomethane (Green gas)

The biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen leads to raw biogas. It is produced by the anaerobic digestion or fermentation of biodegradable materials such as biomass, manure, sewage, municipal waste, green waste, plant material, and crops. Biogas comprises primarily methane (CH4 ) and carbon dioxide (CO2) and may have small amounts of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), moisture and siloxanes. After cleaning (removal of corrosive substances) the gas can be used for heating purposes or converted into electricity and heat in a gas engine. Biogas is converted into biomethane (Green Gas) by upgrading to natural gas standards. Upgrading implies the removal of most of the carbon dioxide (CO2) hydrogen sulphide (H2S), moisture and siloxanes.

Biogas upgrading

This is the starting point to bring biomethane to end users. Anaerobic digesters typically produce the raw gas from organic materials and waste. CO2 is extracted from the raw gas to obtain Methane. During this process, undesired inert and corrosive substances are removed. Biogas upgrading equipment is specifically designed to cope with the raw gas composition at your site.

Written by Jeroen Hoen

Cirmac installation

Energy efficiency Oil and gas Europe Cirmac International Netherlands Society and environment