Prince of Wales opens J V Energen, BioCarbonics green CO2 facility

The Prince of Wales opened J V Energen’s newly installed CO2 capture facility in Dorset on 9 June, where green CO2 is supplied to its new joint venture business, BioCarbonics.

The green CO2 is captured at J V Energen’s Rainbarrow Farm anaerobic digestion (AD) and biomethane-to-grid plant. It is processed into a food and beverage-grade product, where it is used for the carbonation of bottled and canned drinks, for distribution to pubs for the on-site carbonation of beers, ciders, and ales, and in horticulture to stimulate photosynthesis for the increased production of fruits and vegetables. The CO2 is then purchased by BioCarbonics, which distributes the gas to end-users.

The opening of this BioCarbonics joint venture green CO2 facility marks the launch of a pioneering model for the UK’s CO2 industry, according to the companies, where green CO2 is recovered from a network of renewable energy sources to ensure improved continuity of supply, with no danger of a repeat of the industry-wide shortages experienced in 2018.

“Most of the CO2 used in the UK comes from industrial fossil fuel processes, with a historically unreliable continuity of supply,” said BioCarbonics’ managing director, Christopher Carson.

“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.”

Championed by The Prince of Wales, Rainbarrow Farm AD plant was the UK’s first commercial biomethane-to-grid plant, currently generating enough gas to reach 7,500 houses mid-winter and over 100,000 houses in the summer. Biogas produced at Rainbarrow Farm was first cleaned and injected as biomethane into the national gas network on 11 October 2012.

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 for sale to over 350 garden centres, and helps local farmers significantly reduce reliance on artificial fertilisers.

BioCarbonics is actively seeking other AD biomethane-to-grid producers who are interested in supplying CO2 to help grow this network.

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