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Viridor partners with CarbonOrO in novel landfill gas to vehicle fuel project

One of the UK’s largest recycling and renewable energy companies, Viridor Ltd, a Pennon Group Plc subsidiary, has announced that it has signed an agreement to work with Dutch company CarbonOrO BV to deliver a global first – a gas clean-up system that transforms landfill gas (LFG) into transport fuels in a process which also allows for the successful capture of carbon dioxide (CO2).

In the UK, Viridor has signed an agreement to work with Dutch company CarbonOrO BV to deliver a global first – a gas clean-up system that transforms landfill gas (LFG) into transport fuels in a process which also allows for the successful capture of carbon dioxide (CO2). At the signing Pieter Verberne (left), General Manager, CarbonOrO; Marcus Du Pree Thomas, Head of Innovation & Technology, Viridor and Phil Piddington, Managing Director, Viridor (photo courtesy CarbonOrO).

According to Phil Piddington, Managing Director of Viridor, the GBP2 million (≈ EUR 2.33 million) innovation investment, would begin with a plant installation at the company’s Dunbar Landfill site early next year, with commissioning taking place in summer 2020.

Viridor is committed to working with companies like CarbonOrO to develop sustainable solutions for the management of landfill gas. With the natural life of incentives, such as landfill gas renewable obligation certificates (ROCs), coming to the end in 2026/7, it is essential for our sector to develop new technologies and applications. Converting landfill gas into transport fuels is exactly the right vehicle for realising these goals and, the fact that the process draws on heat provided by the co-located ERF, sees this facility coming into its own as a combined heat and power plant. This is, of course, best practice for ERFs, Phil Piddington said.

The project will also draw heat from the GBP177 million (≈ EUR 206.6 million) energy recovery facility (ERF) which forms part of the Viridor Dunbar site. Operational since early 2019, this 30 MWe and 10 MWth combined heat and power (CHP) plant will divert around 300 000 tonnes of residual waste per annum. The electricity is fed directly to the National Grid while the heat is available for local use.

We look forward to the Dunbar commercialisation delivering results which will enable us to use CarbonOrO’s unique technique across our portfolio of landfill sites. This investment in innovative technology is also an important development for the closed landfill sites but which form part of Viridor’s aftercare programme, said Phil Piddington.

Novel modular process

CarbonOrO has developed proprietary modular systems for landfill gas (LFG) upgrading, filtering, drying, compression, and liquefaction. All modules are built from standardized and off-the-shelve components and residual heat may be used to fuel the energy-efficient CO2-scrubbing process.

We are very excited about this landmark innovation project which recognises the value of Viridor’s Dunbar landfill and CarbonOrO’s gas-cleaning process. CarbonOrO welcomes the sustainable and profitable optimising of landfills. The Dunbar project is the ultimate demonstration of this vision. The gas-cleaning plant will be integrated with existing facilities on site. This will allow for driving CarbonOrO’s already energy-efficient process with waste heat from Viridor’s nearby ERF, said Pieter Verberne, General Manager, CarbonOrO.

Viridor’s Head of Innovation and Technology, Marcus Du Pree Thomas, said the process involved the stripping and low-temperature regeneration of CO2 capture and other contaminants from methane content of LFG.

Once the gas has been liberated from landfill, this energy-efficient CO2-scrubbing process can be used to create a transport fuel with future applications including supply agreements with UK filling stations and the CO2 successfully captured and harnessed for third party applications such as in agriculture and the chemical/manufacturing industries. This is an incredibly efficient process with the methane gas cleaned to fuel grades in a matter of minutes and a landfill site like Dunbar, currently producing 2 500 Nm3 per hour of gas, capable of creating transport fuel which would run for 34 000 truck miles per year, said Marcus Du Pree Thomas adding that the project is part of a number of “industry-leading sustainable innovations” that Viridor is working on.

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