Bio-based carbon dioxide to be recycled in Nokia

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​VTT is preparing a study for the City of Nokia on various opportunities for using bio-based carbon dioxide in the ECO3 business park, which specialises in the bio-and circular economy. The objective is to find financially viable solutions for the use of excess carbon dioxide derived from sources such as biogas plants, as a raw material in liquid and gaseous fuels and industrial chemicals.

A 120-hectare, multi-sectoral, bio-and circular economy business park is being built in the Kolmenkulma district in Nokia. This will be a home to e.g. a biomass terminal, waste treatment centre, wastewater treatment plant and biogas production plant. The first part of the ECO3 business park will be completed around 2020.

̶  ECO3 is an industrial-scale concept and demonstration platform for the creation of future circular economy solutions. At best, these could become the cutting edge of the Finnish economy. Carbon dioxide recovery and recycling are among Finland's key competencies and are part of the ECO3 concept, says Sakari Ermala, General Manager of Verte Ltd, the City of Nokia's development subsidiary.

Carbon dioxide from biogas plant production process

̶ The recovery of bio-based carbon dioxide, from the Pirkanmaa waste disposal biogas plant for the ECO3 area, could be underway by early 2020, says Ermala.

̶  When a biogas plant produces biogas as a transportation fuel, bio-based carbon dioxide is extracted during the gas production. Carbon dioxide can seldom be used as such, but can be synthesised with hydrogen which acts as the energy carrier, explains Senior Scientist Janne Kärki of VTT.

The wet end of the biogas plant will use municipal sludge, obtained from the local sewage treatment plant, as a raw material. Bio-waste from households throughout the Pirkanmaa region will form the raw material for the dry end.

VTT to investigate feasibility and profitability

Verte has commissioned a study from VTT on using bio-based carbon dioxide as a raw material in the ECO3 area. The objective is to find financially viable solutions for the use of excess carbon dioxide in production of liquid and gaseous fuels and industrial chemicals.

̶  The study is being completed with funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. We could not have done this without their funding, says Ermala.

̶  VTT will begin by mapping the current situation and sources of bio-based carbon dioxide, as well as the actors that might use the carbon dioxide. We will then explore the prospective technologies and their financial viability. Finally, we will evaluate the business potential and export prospects of the studied recovery solutions, says Senior Scientist Kärki, who is leading the study.

Kärki points out that VTT has strong expertise in the entire carbon dioxide utilisation value chain, i.e., carbon dioxide extraction methods, utilisation and the use of hydrogen in manufacturing  carbon-neutral products.

̶  Our strong research infrastructure expertise also enables us to take the process all the way through to demonstration level, explains Kärki.

Utilisation chain will be demonstrated in practice

The completion of the study phase will be followed, in spring 2019, by the practical demonstration of the selected technologies and utilisation methods.

̶  The ECO3 business park could function as a demonstration area in which we can showcase VTT's technology in action. We can draw foreign players here to see how the carbon dioxide utilisation technology works, says Ermala.

Concept of new type of plastic recycling plant

The City of Nokia is currently engaged in a corresponding feasibility study on a new plastic recycling plant concept for the ECO business park. The study is due for completion in early 2019.

̶  The study involves analysing the plant's raw material flows, the availability of its raw materials, and the markets for recycled plastic products. The purpose of the study is to provide new information and material for those who are interested, says Sakari Ermala, General Manager of Verte, Ltd, the City of Nokia's development subsidiary.

This study is also being completed with funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

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