Pacific Ethanol’s waste carbon dioxide converted at Airgas facility in California

Air Liquide company Airgas has opened its new liquid carbon dioxide and dry ice facility, which will convert gaseous carbon dioxide (CO2) produced as a by-product of ethanol into liquid CO2.

Located in Stockton, California, the facility will capture and recycle all process and rain water that comes into contact with equipment to create a zero discharge site.

CO2 in gas form, which would otherwise be discarded as a by-product of the ethanol production process, will be converted into approximately 500 tonnes of liquid CO2 per day at the facility.

Additionally, a dry ice facility at the site will convert up to 250 tonnes per day of liquid CO2 into dry ice, which can be used for the safe transport of food and agricultural products, as well as in a range of life science and industrial processes.

“The Airgas business model is built on the foundation of local customer service,” commented Matt Whitton, regional president of Airgas’ NCN region. “We stay close to our more than 1 million customers and strive to meet their needs by working collaboratively with them and our partner suppliers to help their companies succeed.

“We announced our plans to build this facility in March 2018 to have three strategically located CO2 plants in Northern, Central, and Southern California and today, we deliver on that commitment.”

In March 2018, Pacific Ethanol agreed to sell CO2 from its Stockton, California plant to Airgas for conversion at this new facility, which is located adjacent to Pacific Ethanol’s plant.

"The opportunity to utilise the CO2 from our ethanol production process as another co-product for sale further diversifies our revenues and improves Pacific Ethanol's profitability,” noted Neil Koehler, president and CEO of Pacific Ethanol, at the time. “We anticipate Airgas’s new CO2 processing plant in Stockton to begin operations by the end of 2018 and to contribute at least $1 million [approximately €900,000] a year in operating income."

The Stockton biorefinery began operations in 2008 with a capacity of 60 million gallons per year of ethanol production.

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