Green CO₂: Bright future for Water Authorities and CO₂ purchasers

AquaMinerals has for the first time supplied green CO2 from one of its participants, the De Dommel Water Authority. The green CO2 was purchased by a regional greenhouse horticulture company, thus making a positive contribution to the greenhouse horticulture sector. In a collaboration with the Energy and Resources Factory, AquaMinerals is working on the development of sales channels for the CO2 and other residual streams from wastewater treatment. With the recovery of CO2 and residual streams, AquaMinerals is striving, for other Water Authorities as well, to create a meaningful impact.

At its Tilburg wastewater treatment plant, the De Dommel Water Authority produces biogas from the digestion of treatment sludge. The biogas is upgraded onsite to green gas of natural-gas quality and delivered to the gas network. In this way, the natural gas consumption of 4,000 mostly Tilburg homes has been rendered green. The biogas upgrading process also generates CO2 – carbon dioxide. This is cleaned and liquefied. It represents a clean and green alternative to ‘grey’ CO2.

This summer saw the first delivery of CO2 to an end-user in the greenhouse horticulture sector, who uses the CO2 to accelerate crop growth.

The De Dommel Water Authority supplies the CO2 through AquaMinerals. Since 1995, AquaMinerals has taken care of the marketing of the raw materials of its shareholders, which are all of the Dutch drinking water companies, one Flemish drinking water company and a large number of Water Authorities. The De Dommel Water Authority became a member of the AquaMinerals collective this year. The collective’s aim is to provide solutions and have impact, both financially and societally. As a partner for the distribution of the green CO2 AquaMinerals chose Air Liquide: an established market player.

Ronny Theune, Commercial Manager at AquaMinerals, explains: ‘The delivery of CO2, a liquefied gas, is for us a new activity and raw material, besides the traditional raw materials that we market, such as calcite and struvite. We didn’t take any chances in selecting a partner, and we carefully weighed all of the interests involved in order to come up with the best proposal for the Water Authority. And we succeeded. We chose Air Liquide because one of their ambitions is to enhance the sustainability of industry and greenhouse horticulture by means of green CO2 from by the Water Authorities. This also offers our other participants, who currently produce CO2 or are planning on doing so, the possibility of profiting from the partnership in the future. Since the CO2 is very pure, we expect it to be certified in the future according to the standards applied for (even) higher-value industrial applications, but also for instance for applications in the water sector itself. This will allow us to better assure the continuity, since greenhouse agriculture after all only has a limited growing season. So we are going to continue this development for the Water Authorities: that is our mission.’

Bas Peeters, a member of the daily management team at the De Dommel Water Authority and portfolio manager for circularity in the water chain: ‘In October 2022 we decided to join AquaMinerals with a view to giving our ambitions in the area of sustainability and circularity a powerful boost. This first delivery of green CO2 is an important step for us on the road to realising these ambitions, and moreover dovetails with the motto of our new 2023-2027 governance programme: Meters maken met de watertransitie [making progress in the water transition].’

For more information, please contact Jouke Boorsma, AquaMinerals [+31 30 60 69 640].