The bio-refinery Alco Bio Fuel (ABF) and the industrial gas suppliers Messer Group and IJsfabriek Strombeek are to join forces in the investment in a new carbon dioxide (CO2) recovery unit in Ghent, Belgium.

The triumvirate announced that they would invest around €15m in the project, which will recover and process no less than 100,000 tonnes of green CO2 per year. The plant will also help to reduce CO2 emissions in Belgium.

The new unit should be operational a little over a year from now, during summer 2016.

The facility isn´t the first initiative of the Messer subsidiary Messer Benelux and Ijsfabriek Strombeek in this field: five years ago the two gas companies invested in a CO2 recovery unit on the grounds of Ineos in Zwijndrech, also recovering 100,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Fermentation process

The new installation in Ghent will recover and purify the CO2 gas released during the ethanol fermentation process and convert it into a liquid.

The CO2 is released when ABF processes biomass into bioethanol. This biomass is organic material that produces (amongst other things) electricity and biofuel. After treatment in the new unit, the CO2 can be re-used in the food and drink industry, in water purification, for refrigerated transport applications, or as a chemical source.

As a result, not only does ABF reduce its CO2 footprint of bioethanol, it can also significantly expand its product offering.