From cleaning applications to chilling and confectionery, Danish-based company Triventek offers efficient and economic dry ice technology around the world.

Triventek A/S specialises in dry ice equipment: both production and blast cleaning machines. The company is based in Asperup, Denmark and has distributors in most major European territories and select territories such as Brazil, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand. A direct subsidiary named Triventek Inc. is located in Chicago, Illinois, handling sales and service in the US. The company is also a member of the €90m turnover Hotchkiss group, which has provided the funding to build a reputation as an innovator in its field, with a long-term strategy.

The dry ice range on offer comprises of the Triblaster-2 blast cleaner, the PE80 Pelletizer, and the RE80 Recovery Unit. The low cost PE80 pelletiser ensures that users and gas company depots can have dry ice ‘on tap’, with the patented system incorporating novel revert gas recovery - meaning users can effectively have dry ice at half price.

“Our slogan is: ‘We make dry ice easy’ and it really is true,” says CEO, Ken Jensen. “We came into the dry ice business with an end-user, customer point-of-view. Back at the turn of the century, one of our group companies wanted to use dry ice for a specialist air duct cleaning application. Frankly, we couldn’t see the value in the €30,000 which was being asked for blasters, back then. I think there was an element of ‘black arts’ in the selling of this technology, which, probably as a result, had stayed restricted since its invention in 1976 to a few ‘super-users’ like tyre manufacturers. We already had a company making duct cleaning robots and some fairly high-tech equipment so we said: we can make blasters better and much less expensive. Now we sell a better blaster for around €10,000.”

“The other side of the coin for us as a user, was the high cost and dreadful logistics of dry ice supply. You had to give 2 even 3 days notice if you wanted dry ice, and it was costing over €1 per kg.” continues Key Accounts manager, Craig Booth.

The breakthrough for Triventek came with the development and patenting of low capital cost dry ice production equipment, which at the same time was a step-change more efficient than existing technology. The traditional ‘balloon’ recovery technology will result in dry ice yields of about 1.4 to 1.6:1, whereas the Triventek equipment will yield 1.12:1 liquid CO2: dry ice.

“It makes much more sense to transport liquid CO2 infrequently than to transport highly perishable dry ice frequently,” says Booth. “A number of forward-thinking gas companies can see the potential for expansion of the total CO2 market, when dry ice is economically and logistically easier. This can be through liquid sales to the customer, or through the development of more localised production depots capable of serving local markets with fresh, inexpensive dry ice.”

Triventek believes it can bring fresh thinking to the industrial gas industry, and help to bring the benefits of dry ice to industry, both in the cleaning application and increasingly in the chilling market. An example of the latter was the installation of PE80/RE80 equipment for an artisanal pat» producer who had been using gel cold packs to keep products frozen during distribution to grocers, delicatessens and consumers via third-party courier service. The switch to dry ice was made only after the technology became available to ensure low cost and logistically reliable dry ice production on-site.

“The future looks very rosy. We see year-on-year increases in cleaning applications as capital and revenue costs fall for users. In fact, when we introduced the latest model dry ice blaster, and reduced the sales price by over €1,000, we called it Triblaster ‘minus’ 2, because we believe we are only 2 steps away from making dry ice blasting as easy as high pressure water,” says Ken Jensen. “I’d like to leave readers with this thought: When you see capital payback periods of well under 12 months, in some instances, it’s no wonder that people in cleaning and chilling markets are eagerly taking up PE/RE80 for dry ice production close to the point-of-use”

Global Production
The company points to the contrast between Japan and the UK. In the former, dry ice is easily available with production in every major town, so much so that even a local confectionery baker will put a slice of dry ice in the box to keep a cream cake fresh.

In the UK, there are thought to be only 3-4 dry ice production centres working regularly, and dry ice is relatively difficult to get hold of and expensive. Why does Japan, which is geographically similar to the UK, have so much better dry ice infrastructure?

The answer according to Triventek, lies in the country’s post-war reconstruction along American lines. In a big country like the US, nobody ever thought it made sense to concentrate dry ice production in say Baltimore and ship it to Washington. As a result far more CO2, pouring out of ammonia plants for example, is taken up as a dry ice in the US and Japan.