Airgas Inc. has today announced that it will build a new 450-tpd liquid carbon dioxide plant at the First United Ethanol LLC (FUEL) complex in Camilla, in a deal which will see Airgas enter into a 15-year agreement with FUEL.

The long term agreement will ensure the supply of feedstock of raw carbon dioxide for the Airgas facility, a site which will enhance the company’s services to customers throughout Georgia and Florida.

FUEL is building the first commercial ethanol plant in the Southeast US and appears set to begin operations in the Autumn, while at the Airgas facility the raw carbon dioxide will be refined for food, commercial and beverage-grade use. It’s thought that the facility will eventually employ between 15 to 20 people and will be operational by late 2009.

“By building a new world-class facility at this destination-based ethanol plant, Airgas will better serve carbon dioxide customers in the Georgia and Florida markets,” said Division President Ted Schulte.

“We currently serve customers in this region through our plant in Augusta, GA and via railcar to a depot in central Florida. This new site will create a stronger supply chain for our liquid merchant customers as well as for our own dry ice production, and it will also minimise product dislocation costs when we encounter plant outages.”

Airgas Chairman and CEO, Peter McCausland, seemed to agree about the significance of the plant as he added, “Our CO2 and Dry Ice business posted 10% organic revenue growth last quarter, and has a great outlook. This plant will further enhance our position as an industry leader in CO2 production and distribution, and the capture of CO2 from a process plant to deploy in commercial use is an environmentally responsible method of production.”

Airgas Carbonic is the second-largest manufacturer and distributor of liquid carbon dioxide in the US and the largest in the Southeast US, with six production facilities serving 19 states, primarily east of the Mississippi River.

Airgas Dry Ice is the largest producer and distributor of dry ice nationwide with dry ice plants and distribution points across the US.