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Hitachi Zosen Inova’s largest biogas upgrading plant to be built in Dunaföldvár

Hitachi Zosen Inova BioMethan GmbH (HZIB), the German subsidiary of Switzerland-headed Hitachi Zosen Inova AG (HZI), has announced that it has been commissioned by ClonBio Group Ltd, a family-owned Irish agribusiness group to build a biogas upgrading plant in Dunaföldvár, Hungary. The plant will be built at Europe's largest corn ethanol biorefinery, ClonBio Group subsidiary Pannonia Bio Zrt. Once operational in 2022, it will be the largest biogas upgrading reference plant for HZI.

Hitachi Zosen Inova BioMethan GmbH (HZIB) has been selected by ClonBio Group Ltd to supply a biogas upgrading plant to the Pannonia Bio Zrt biorefinery site in Dunaföldvár, Hungary (photo courtesy Pannonia Bio).

HZIB was awarded the contract for an amine scrubbing gas upgrading installation in Dunaföldvár, Hungary. With an inlet biogas capacity of 5 000 Nm3 per hour, it will be over double the capacity of the largest current HZI reference plant for this upgrading technology –  a 2 000 Nm3 per hour facility in Germany.

A first for HZI in Hungary

The Dunaföldvár project will also be the first gas upgrading facility by HZI in Hungary. Around 90 km south of Budapest, Pannonia Bio Zrt is Europe’s largest grain biorefinery for ethanol production and hosts Central Europe’s largest operating advanced biofuel production facility.

Every year the refinery converts more than a million tonnes of grain into hundreds of thousands of tonnes of various protein feeds and protein concentrates, over 500 million litres of bioethanol, 15 000 tonnes of corn oil and 15 000 tonnes of organic fertilisers, as well as other products.

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. 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, commented Mark Turley, CEO of ClonBio (previously known as Ethanol Europe Renewables).

Future in mind

Starting in 2022 the biogas will be amine scrubbed to upgrade it to biomethane, also known as renewable natural gas (RNG), and injected into the local gas grid. This renewable energy source will then be available to transport and heating customers in Hungary and beyond who want to switch from fossil gas.

New software has been designed to integrate the gas upgrading system in the fully automated production facility.

It allows the installation to be controlled completely via the production facility’s control centre. This creates interesting possibilities for other refineries, remarked Jens Becker, Managing Director at HZIB.

Furthermore, ClonBio plans to maximize material flow recycling. In the upgrading process, the methane contained in the biogas is separated from other components, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2). The sustainable use of CO2 will be another target for the Dunaföldvár facility.

With a comprehensive renewable gas portfolio and deep know-how in the interfaces, HZI is able to supply an integration solution to support such an expansion.

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