With the increasing need to diversify CO2 supply and abate the potential for shortages, Session 2 of gasworld’s ‘Europe CO2 Summit 2022’ looked towards the future of industry, examining emerging supply chains and the importance of biogenic CO2, recovery methods, and carbon capture.

During gasworld’s virtual ‘Europe CO2 Summit 2022’, gasworld’s Global Managing Editor Rob Cockerill and Broadcast Journalist Thomas Dee were joined by guest speaker Chris Carson – Founder and Principal Director of Carbonic Solutions BV, a specialist CO2 consulting firm founded in 2015. 

Carbonic Solutions covers the entire CO2 recovery and sales supply chain, from plant design to equipment/vendor selection, plant installation and operations, quality control, and commercial contracts 

As Managing Director of BioCarbonics Limited (BioCarbonics) – a company that sources CO2 from renewable origins such as biogas – Carson elaborated on the importance of biogenic CO2 in an industry comprised of traditional sourcing methods. 

Biogenic CO2 is CO2 that’s captured in a short carbon cycle. When it’s releaed into the atmosphere, it will not increase the co2 levels as it’s a very short cycle captured by the biomass before being released, captured again and released. 

“It does not contribute to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere,” explained Carson. 

Although no ‘price premium has been placed on bio-CO2, Carson stated that market interest is growing significantly, especially over the past year, potentially due to the rise in importance of ‘Scope 3’ emissions. 

“The real importance of Bio-CO2 is availability and security of supply,” he said. “The market is more than willing to pay for this important aspect of Bio-CO2.” 

With the shift to ‘zero carbon’, and proliferation of carbon capture and storage (CCS), Bio-CO2 is seen by Carson as the ‘most obvious source’ to replace existing fossil CO2 sources. 

“Bio-ethanol represents 15-20% of total supply of biogenic CO2, although growth is stagnant,” he added. 

CO2 from anaerobic digestion (AD)/biogas sources could offer the most potential, due to high natural gas prices and an increase in security of supply. 

Supply models 

CO2 sourced from AD/biogas sources provides many small sources versus one or two large sources of CO2 but currently lacks economies of scale. 

It also requires a different distribution network and cost structure and reliability of supply is also a major factor.  

“Biogenic CO2 is critical to long-term security of supply,” explained Carson. 

“Traditional sources of liquid CO2 are drying up and very few new traditional sources are being developed.” 

“My message today really is that we need to utilise these alternative sources of CO2 instead of focusing on why we shouldn’t be using them because in the end, we’re really not going to have a choice.” 

Negative footprint for CO2 

Carson elaborated on the quantification of the negative footprint for Bio-CO2. 

“That’s a tricky question. That all depends on the costs associated with sequestration and appplications that permanently bind and seqester CO2. That is still developing and voluntary markets are still putting prices and value on that. It depends on the region you’re in.”

Is the new sourcing route viable long-term? 

“It is a viable option. It depends where you are in the world as to how this biogenic source from AD biogas will develop,” he said. 

He explained that if you’re in a low energy cost region, it’s much less likely to develop quickly as an alternative source. 

Lack of availability from traditional sources will see bio-CO2 technology develop faster and, according to Carson, more and more customers are asking Biocarbonics for Bio-CO2.