From the chimney to the greenhouse

Innovative project: In the Netherlands, Bilfinger proves that carbon dioxide can be used to fertilize plants.

Nowadays, it is common knowledge that carbon-dioxide emissions need to be minimized because they damage the environment. A less well-known fact, however, is that CO2 can also be put to good use – for instance, in the food and beverage industry or in growing flowers and vegetables in greenhouses. Photosynthesis, which is essential to plant life, requires CO2. Particularly in the summer months, CO2 levels in greenhouses drop and need topping up from external sources. At the same time, an additional injection of CO2 stimulates plant growth, acting like a fertilizer.

Capture, purify, liquefy

Many horticultural businesses still generate the necessary CO2 by burning natural gas. With its pilot project, Dutch energy-from-waste operator AVR proves there is a better way. Thanks to the engineering expertise provided by Bilfinger Tebodin, a substantial amount of the carbon dioxide produced at the AVR waste-to-energy plant in Duiven is no longer released into the atmosphere. Instead, it is used to promote the growth of plants in greenhouses. The CO2 is captured, purified and liquefied. Next, it is transported in tanker trucks to the users – horticultural businesses that feed it into their greenhouses, where the CO2 improves quality and leads to higher yields.

Putting CO2 to good use – How carbon capture opens up new possibilities

One-stop planning

Some 15 percent of the carbon dioxide that results from the incineration of waste in Duiven is re-used in this way. That is equivalent to an annual total of 60,000 metric tons of CO2, an amount that can be raised to as much as 100,000 metric tons to meet increased demand. In planning the facility, AVR placed their complete trust in Bilfinger Tebodin’s engineering expertise. Our Dutch subsidiary oversaw the project from its conception, through a feasibility study and the actual planning, to the tender and awarding of the contract. Alongside Bilfinger Tebodin, other Bilfinger companies within Engineering & Maintenance provide CO2 capture, processing and storage services.

Published in issue 03.2019

Carbon capture and reuse

  • About 15 percent of CO2 emissions are captured.
  • The carbon dioxide is then liquefied and loaded into tanker trucks.
  • When fed into the greenhouse, it ensures ideal plant growth.

Further articles from issue 03.2019

Facility in Duiven

The facility in Duiven, Netherlands, has transformed itself from a pure waste incineration plant to a supplier of energy and raw materials.

Success through sustainability

“In order to serve our customers, we have set a course for sustainability. For instance, we reduce industrial plants’ CO2 emissions and clean the exhaust gas produced by ocean-going vessels. With Bilfinger’s products, technologies and innovations, our customers are able to comply with environmental standards, conserve resources and operate sustainably. At the same time, they benefit from our extensive engineering expertise and decades of experience in many industrial sectors. By using technology transfer, driving innovation and bringing even unconventional solutions to life, we deliver greater sustainability, efficiency and safety to our customers.”

Bilfinger-CEO Tom Blades harnesses expertise and innovation to achieve sustainability goals.