Australian power plant's waste puts bubbles in beer

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

The Torrens Island power station in South Australia
The Torrens Island power station in South Australia

Related tags: Carbon dioxide

An Australian state known for its recycling initiatives and clean energy production is now using waste carbon dioxide from a gas-fired power plant to grow tomatoes and put bubbles in beer.

AGL Energy recently commissioned a plant at its Torrens Island power station in the South Australian capital Adelaide to recover carbon dioxide. 

The plant, operated by Air Liquide, will capture and purify up to 50,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from the power station’s exhaust per year. It is the first facility to capture and sell CO2 from a power station in Australia. 

Air Liquide will on sell the gas to the merchant CO2 market in South Australia for use for a variety of uses, including carbon dioxide enrichment in greenhouses for tomato growing, carbonated drinks, reducing the pH in water treatment facilities, including the desalination and modified atmosphere packaging for soft drinks and beer. 

In most of the cases CO2 is captured from petrochemical sources that generate a stream which is more concentrated, therefore requiring a lower investment than the one at Torrens Island​,” said Air Liquide Australia managing director Michele Gritti. 

The capture and storage of CO2 is critical to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and makes clean energy a reality​. 

The technology required to capture CO2 from steam like the one at AGL is unique, and Air Liquide is one of very few companies with the experience and know-how to successfully implement this project​,” he added 

AGL chief executive Andy Vesey said the plant is delivering an environmental benefit and providing local industry with a much-needed resource. 

Innovative processes such as the Air Liquide CO2 recovery plant are critical in helping reduce emissions from the electricity generation sector and provide a local source of CO2 for South Australian industry​,” he said. 

South Australia was the first Australian state to introduce container deposit legislation, ban plastic shopping bags and achieve a recycling rate of almost 80%. 

It also leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and rooftop solar, with renewable sources accounting for more than 40% of the electricity generated in the state. The state government now aims to extend this to 50% by 2025.

Related topics: Business, Oceania, Supply chain, Beverages

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