With construction set to be complete in July this year, Iwatani is adding another liquid carbon dioxide (LCO2) plant to its portfolio in the form of a new facility in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.
The new plant is being constructed at Hydro-Edge, an affiliate of Iwatani and will have a capacity of around 33,00 tonnes per year.
In addition to helping to ensure stable supply to LCO2 users in the surrounding area, the Sakai plant solves a problem of supply for Iwatani itself. Of the liquid carbon dioxide production centres in the Kinki area which encompasses Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and other neighbouring prefectures, the Sakai plant of Ube Industries ceased production of ammonia at the end of March.
Iwatani had rights to be supplied with crude gas from the plant; the company’s construction of its own facility therefore replaces this lost supply.
Closure of the Ube Industries plant took around 80,000 tonnes per year out of the market in western Japan, with Iwatani keenly exploring countermeasures such as the development of alternative sources or the construction of a new plant altogether. The company took the decision to make every effort to meet the peak demand this summer, says The Gas Review, ‘even if doing so would become a huge burden on the company’.
Speed of construction is thought to have been of the essence for Iwatani since Ube announced the closure of its plant over a year ago. Iwatani laid around 3km of pipeline to distribute crude gas from the Sakai plant of Cosmo Oil, its source for the new facility, and is also installing a gas liquefaction plant and distribution yard for tank trucks.
Total investment will amount to around ¥1.4bn (US$XX) and the plant will have a liquefaction capacity of 33,000 tonnes per year, dedicated to supplying tank trucks.
LCO2 and dry ice have been in great demand for use with food and beverages, in addition to major applications such as welding, while plant shutdowns and decreasing sources of supply have led to a tight LCO2 and dry ice market in Japan in recent years. The Gas Review notes that suppliers will, therefore, continue to develop new sources and invest in new plants.
The Gas Review