Bad Soden, Germany,

Messer commissions largest CO2 recovery plant

In Belgium, industrial gases specialist Messer recovers 150,000 tons of CO2 a year from industrial waste gas in order to recycle it.

Industrial gases specialist Messer has commissioned a new CO2 liquefaction plant with an annual production capacity of 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide on the site of the British company Ineos Oxide in Zwijndrecht near Antwerp, Belgium. The Messer Group has operations in Europe and Asia, and this is its largest CO2 plant. It is operated jointly with the Belgian company IJsfabriek Strombeek under the name “bECO2“, the joint venture set up by the two companies, in which Messer holds a 70 per cent share. In total, bECO2 has invested 17 million euros.

With the construction of the new CO2 production plant, the Messer Group is making a positive contribution to the environment. The production facility will recover around 20 tons of CO2 per hour from industrial waste gas and make it reusable. bECO2 captures the CO2 from Ineos’ chemical facilities, where ethylene is reacted with oxygen to form ethylene oxide, a process in which carbon dioxide is generated as a by-product. The CO2 that is discharged is thus turned to economic advantage as a “green gas” without impacting the environment.

Messer will use two thirds of the plant’s capacity in order to supply carbonic acid, dry ice or gaseous and liquid carbon dioxide to its customers in the food and beverage sector as well as the manufacturing and water industries, among others. The remaining third will be bought by IJsfabriek Strombeek. In the burgeoning market for carbon dioxide, Messer is already the leading supplier in Belgium and the third largest in Benelux. Sales of carbon dioxide increased significantly between 2004 and 2007.

The special properties of carbon dioxide, such as its inertness and its high solubility in water, make CO2 a versatile product with a range of uses, including, for example, in carbonated drinks. In the treatment of drinking water and in wastewater neutralisation, CO2 dissolved in water can replace the use of hydrochloric acid. In cryogenic liquid and solid form (dry ice), carbon dioxide is used as a coolant down to temperatures as low as minus 79 °C.