BOC invests in CO2 facility

CO2 tanks carbon dioxide injection brewery

Gas and engineering company BOC is investing in a multi-million dollar CO2 processing facility in Victoria.

As part of the carbon dioxide supply agreement under the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture with Esso Australia and Woodside Energy, the new facility will produce 60,000 tonnes of beverage-grade liquid CO2 annually.

BOC says this will make it the largest CO2 producer in the South Pacific, with the aim of increasing reliability and supply for Australian industries.

One of these industries is brewing, which is often dependent on suppliers of carbon dioxide to enable beer carbonation.

CO2 shortages were a major issue during the COVID pandemic in the US, and has continued to be an issue across the Pacific.

Recent reports from beer media in the US have suggested that CO2 shortages have forced some breweries such as Night Shift Brewing in Massachusetts to outsource its beer production because of shortages of the gas.

It has also led brewers to look at other options, including the use of nitrogen in the process which acts to extend CO2 supplies.

However, in Australia, brewers have largely been protect due to the way in which CO2 is collected here compared to the US.

In the US, CO2 is produced as a by product of petroleum production. In Australia, CO2 is sourced from a number of different sources that are not all reliant on fuel refineries, BOC told Brews News at the time.

In Australia, CO2 is a by-product of natural gas processing, ammonia production and ethanol fermentation, and BOC’s investment will help futureproof this supply.

“BOC is building new infrastructure to ensure long-term supply security of an essential gas used in many industries including food processing and packaging, beverage, hospitality, desalination, medical, manufacturing and water treatment,” according to John Evans, managing director of BOC South Pacific.

“This significant investment is part of our commitment to develop local supply partnerships and expand our production capability to meet the future needs of our customers and support growth across the South Pacific Region.

“With the latest technologies and processes in quality control and efficiency, BOC’s new CO2 facility will exceed internationally recognised food and beverage standards.”

On-site construction is set to begin later in 2022 subject to regulatory approvals and the facility is expected to be operational by 2024.

Brewers have often been cognisant of CO2 in the brewhouse, and many have been looking at alternative ways to use or reuse their CO2 emissions.

Some breweries such as the Sunshine Coast’s Terella Brewing, Young Henrys and Hawke’s Brewing in Sydney and WA’s Rocky Ridge Brewing are recovering their CO2 for use in farming.

There are also new technologies coming to market allowing the recovery of CO2 from the brewing process, which can be collected and reinjected into the brewing process for carbonation purposes.

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