CropEnergies AG and Tyczka Energie GmbH have revealed plans to build a plant for the liquefaction of food quality CO2 in Zeitz, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

Drawing on biogenic CO2 (carbon dioxide) from bioethanol production, the produced CO2 will go some way to catering for ever-growing food & beverage demand, while also ensuring that the Tyczka Group has secured both a long-term and sustainable source of CO2.

Construction and operation of the liquefaction plant will be undertaken by the newly formed joint venture, CT Biocarbonic GmbH, in which each partner holds a 50% stake. With an annual production capacity of 100,000 tonnes of CO2, the plant is scheduled to commence operations in 2010.

The plant, which will provide liquefaction, purification and recovery of CO2, is located in the immediate proximity of the CropEnergies bioethanol facility in Zeitz and will benefit from the existing infrastructure.

The raw material used will be biogenic CO2 from CropEnergies’ bioethanol production process, which forms during the fermentation of grain and sugar syrups into bioethanol.

According to Lutz Guderjahn, member of the executive board of CropEnergies, “The construction of the CO2 liquefaction plant will enable CropEnergies to increase the profitability of the Zeitz site thanks to the extension of the value chain whilst, at the same time, also improving the greenhouse gas balance of the bioethanol facility as a consequence of reprocessing the CO2.”

Growing demand
The particular chemical properties of the CO2 produced in Zeitz opens up a wide range of applications in an equally wide range of industries - in addition to its use in drinks, CO2 is also used as a refrigerant or freezing agent for foods, and as a protective gas in the packaging industry.

In Europe alone, the annual demand for liquid CO2 is currently around 3 million tonnes and the industry is growing at a multi-year average rate of approximately 3% per annum.

Helping to cater for this burgeoning demand, the produced CO2 will be marketed exclusively by Tyczka Kohlensäure GmbH & Co KG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tyczka Energie.

Reflecting on the newly announced deal, Frank Götzelmann, member of the management board of Tyczka Energie, explained, “By making this investment in Zeitz, the Tyczka Group is not only securing a sustainable and long-term source of carbon dioxide at an attractive location but, at the same time, is also laying the foundation for further expansion of its market position in central Europe.”

Tyczka Energie GmbH is the leading company within the medium-sized Tyczka group of companies, headquartered in Geretsried, Germany. Core areas of business are energy supply (propane and butane), industrial gases and CO2, as well as services.

The CropEnergies Group meanwhile, a member of the Südzucker Group, is a leading European producer of sustainably manufactured bioethanol for the fuel sector.

Within just a few years, CropEnergies has succeeded in establishing itself as one of the leading bioethanol producers within a growing market and operates subsidiaries in Germany, Belgium and France.