Following what is described as a ‘substantial’ investment, Afrox has recently commissioned an upgrade to its carbon dioxide (CO2) recovery plant in Sasolburg.

According to the Afrox website, the upgrade has boosted the capacity of its existing CO2 recovery unit in Sasolburg from 150 tonnes per day (tpd) to 250 tpd - significantly increasing Afrox’s total capacity to supply food grade CO2 to several global brands and generally improving security of national supply.

In tandem with this development, Afrox has also boosted its CO2 distribution capacity countrywide. Its CO2 distribution fleet makes use of an intelligent forecasting and scheduling system; by analysing historical consumption patterns and real time information, the system keeps a constant watch on customer stock levels, allowing the company to anticipate needs before they occur and provide a seamless supply.
Afrox is already the country’s leading supplier of food grade CO2, producing the purest refined CO2 in the country, it claims.

Food and beverage grade CO2 is achieved through Afrox’s PremierGuard analytical systems, which conduct on-line analysis, batch and lot or tanker analysis to the latest industry standards. Tests include global standard ISBT (International Society of Beverage Technologist) tests.

Afrox sources raw CO2 from refineries and then subjects it to a scrubbing process. The purification process comprises eight discrete forms of refinement to achieve a purity of no less than 99,9%.

Donal Mackinnon, Afrox General Manager Tonnage, said, “We’ve pulled out all the stops to make sure we remain a reliable source of the cleanest, purest CO2 on the continent. The Sasolburg facility is our most significant source of CO2, centrally located to support the national demand as well as that of neighbouring countries.”

“This development is part of a multimillion rand investment programme launched in 2007 to increase capacity and improve the reliability of Afrox’s gas processing plants throughout South Africa. Currently the food and beverage industry, specifically the carbonisation of beverages, dominates the demand for CO2, while pH control for water treatment, shielding gases for welding and other metallurgical processes make up the balance.”

The Afrox team is now in the process of installing equipment that will allow the recovery unit to be remotely monitored by Linde out of Bethlehem in the US, which is a Linde centre of process excellence for CO2 operations. Mackinnon says the team has adapted the US remote monitoring technology using an on-site analysis process, to ensure that the product remains on spec.

Plans are in the pipeline to increase CO2 storage capacity to further improve security in supply at the site, the Afrox press release goes on to say.