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HZI to build its largest biogas upgrading plant in Hungary

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Hitachi Zosen Inova’s (HZI) German subsidiary, HZI BioMethan (HZIB), will build the company’s biggest biogas upgrading plant to date in Dunaföldvár, Hungary.

Irish firm ClonBio Group commissioned HZI to build the biomethane plant that will upgrade 5,000 Nm3/h of inlet biogas. The upgrading facility will be constructed in 2022 at Europe’s largest grain biorefinery, owned by ClonBio’s subsidiary, Pannonia Bio.

Located around 90 kilometres south of Budapest, Pannonia Bio processes grain for ethanol production and hosts Central Europe’s largest operating advanced biofuel production facility. Every year, the refinery converts more than one million tonnes of grain into hundreds of thousands of tonnes of various protein feeds and concentrates; over 500 million litres of bioethanol; 15,000 tonnes of corn oil, and 15,000 tonnes of organic fertilisers.

“Our talented staff completed our advanced biogas facility and brought it online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are now ready to take this unique asset to the next level with HZI,” said Mark Turley, CEO of ClonBio.

“At ClonBio, we believe that advanced biomethane is the most practicable advanced biofuel available at scale in Europe, and we believe, because we are seeing it happen, that fermentation technologies like biogas and ethanol present almost unlimited opportunities for circular economy solutions that offer the largest just transition benefits. We are extremely proud that Pannonia Bio already supports well over 5,000 jobs in Hungary.”

Starting in 2022, the biogas will be amine-scrubbed to convert it into biomethane and fed into the local gas grid. The gas will then be available to transport and heating customers in Hungary and beyond who are seeking to move away from fossil natural gas.

New software has been designed to integrate the gas upgrading system in the fully automated production facility. Jens Becker, managing director at HZIB, commented: “It allows the installation to be controlled completely via the production facility’s control centre. This creates interesting possibilities for other refineries.”