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Huub van Haelen takes issue with Guardian article: oil refinery gives greenhouses a boost with CO2 pipeline

Huub van Haelen takes issue with the article below published in The Guardian newspaper today.

The Guardian: Oil refinery gives greenhouses a boost with CO2 pipeline

Comment by Huub van Haelen

Please note, this information is incorrect!

The first studies were conducted by Lillian McDonald, Paul Sanders and myself in 1992. Supply of co-generation unit exhaust gasses from the natural gas production location Gaag (near Hook of Holland) to the greenhouses opposite the road. Study was conducted for NAM, a Shell subsidiary in The Netherlands. The idea was mine, I commissioned Lililian McDonald to do the calcs and Paul Sanders to run the economics.

During the study we became aware of the fact that there was already an extensive grid in The Netherlands for distributing CO2 from powerplants to the greenhouses and EZH, now E-On, was working on expanding their grid. We saw possibilities to tie-in to their planned infrastructure.

We also worked together with the Dutch Agricultural Institute as they were optimising the distribution and quality of CO2 from the exhaust gasses from locally operated co-generation units, owned by individual greenhouse owners. At the time greenhouse owners were spiking the exhaust gasses from their co-generation units in their own greenhouses, supply was controlled on the basis of measured CO2 levels in the greenhouse, excess exhaust gasses were released in the air. The idea the Agricultural Institute had was to build a grid to balance supply and demand between the individual greenhouses and co-generation units.

At the time our project, Gaag, was decided unecomomical (it was in fact killed by the engineering department by calculating the costs of the project on the basis of the wrong material selection for the piping, which made the installation too expensive) the company inhouse magazine picked-up our story and published it. The article in the magazine drew the attention of some people at the Pernis plant and only in 1998 they could make (force) it economical feasible. Meanwhile Moerdijk Chemicals had simply executed the idea and is supplying CO2 to local greenhouses since 1997 .

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