In the Netherlands, a company called OCAP supplies CO2, released from factories, to greenhouses in the Westland region and the so-called B-triangle, in order to improve the crops’ growth.
Description of the Process
Residual CO² from industrial processes is delivered to greenhouses in order to facilitate the crops' growth. Horticulturists and market gardeners normally burn natural gas from their boilers in order to produce CO². OCAP is the company responsible for the supply of carbon dioxide to Zuidplaspolder. OCAP currently also supplies CO² to market gardeners and horticulturists in the Westland region and the so-called B-triangle, the CO² is released by a Shell refinery in Pernis. The recently commisioned OCAP’s second source, which facilitates expansion of the pipe system to destinations including Zuidplaspolder, is Abengoa bioethanol plant in Europoort. An existing pipe system and a specially constructed distribution network now transport the CO² to the greenhouses, providing the horticulturists with very affordable and very pure CO². CO² would otherwise be released into the atmosphere through a chimney
Horticulturists Normally carefully manage CO² levels in their greenhouses, in order to efficiently promote the growth of their crops. For an adequate supply of CO², they use purified flue gases from their heating boilers. Horticulturists need to fire their boilers a lot also during summer months because plants mainly require CO² at times when there is sufficient light and heat available. The heat that is released from the boilers, is not used.
In 2001 Hans and jacob Tiemeijer founded “Syens Energy”, a company which was delivering the CO², released during the production of Hydrogen, to the greenhouses in order to help the crops’ growth. Hans Tiemeijer came up with this idea during the nineties while he was working for Energy Delfland. This initiative resulted in 2003 in the creation of OCAP (Organic Carbondioxide for Assimilation of Plants), which was co-operationin between “VolkerWessels” construction company and gas supplier “Linde Gas”. OCAP started to deliver CO² after the summer of 2005 to the horticultural sector, so market gardeners didn’t need any more to burn natural gas to produce CO² themselves. This CO² originated from a Shell refinery in Pernis. OCAP now delivers more than 300 kilotonnes of CO² per year to 550 greenhouse. OCAP is continuously working on further expansion of delivery also involve CO² from other sources. . OCAP now delivers more than 300 kton of CO² per year to 550 greenhouses. Since 2007, OCAP is involved in the plan for underground storage of CO² in depleted gas fields in Barendrecht. In November 2009 Minister Jacqueline Cramer (Spatial Planning and Environment) and Maria van der Hoeven (Economic Affairs) gave the green light for reduced CO2 storage in Barendrecht but In October 2010 the new cabinet stopped the plan. In August 2010 OCAP found an additional source of CO² from the bioethanol manufacturer Abengoa. This allowed gardeners from mid-2011 in the Zuidplaspolder to use CO² provided by OCAP. Minister Tineke Huizinga (VROM), is the person who initiated the construction of the pipeline in this area.
Policy and legal context
The Zuidplaspolder project involves an investment of between 35 and 40 million euros, five million of which consists of a subsidy granted by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment and the Province of South-Holland for the sustainable development of Zuidplaspolder. The European Commission is expected to authorize this subsidy in autumn of this year.
Challenges that the project must overcome
OCAP has the ambition to expand the supply in North and South-Holland to a total of 1 megaton of CO². This goal cannot be realized unless more sources of pure CO² are added. After all, cultivation under glass requires guaranteed high-quality CO². However, production processes releasing pure CO² as a residue are scarce. This means that in future, OCAP will have to invest in capture and purification of less pure CO², such as flue gases released in power generation. This is a costly process that cannot be realized without the proper incentives provided by parties including the government.