Bad Soden, Germany,

Messer secures supply of carbon dioxide in Vietnam

Industrial gases specialist Messer has signed a contract that secures access to a CO2 source in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Phuoc.

Messer will receive 200 metric tons of raw carbon dioxide per day, which will be obtained as a by-product from a bioethanol plant in Bu Dang District. Operator of the plant is Orient Bio-fuel Co. Ltd., which launched the construction of the US$80m bioethanol plant on 19 March, 2010. Messer will build a liquefaction plant for carbon dioxide with an initial capacity of 70 metric tons per day, due to be expanded later on to 200 tons per day. The liquefaction plant for carbon dioxide will be delivered and built by the competence center of CO2, the ASCO Carbon Dioxide Ltd, which belongs to Messer Group. The largest owner-managed industrial gases producer already has the permits for the CO2 pipeline, the construction site and the electricity supply. The new CO2 investment project represents a further expansion of Messer’s activities in Vietnam and will give potential investors in Vietnam access to a secure and long-term supply of carbon dioxide.

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.

Messer has been operating in Vietnam since 1997 and today employs some 300 staff in the north and south of the country as well as in the coastal city of Vung Tau. Messer operates an air separation unit In Hai Duong with a capacity of 8500 cubic metres gaseous oxygen per hour and a capacity of 107 tons of liquid oxygen, nitrogen and argon and provides among others the steel producer Hoa Phat Group via pipeline with industrial gases. At three other locations, Messer fills air gases, carbon dioxide as well as gas mixtures that are primarily used in laboratories. The industrial gases producer supplies most of its products to motorcycle manufacturers and shipyards as well as the food and metalworking industries.

The construction of the bioethanol plant in Binh Phuoc is part of the biofuel development programme adopted by the Vietnamese government in November 2007. The biofuel plant is due to be completed within the next 21 months and will have an annual raw material requirement of 240,000 metric tons of cassava for a production capacity of 100 million litres of bioethanol. The bioethanol will be mixed with oil products from the Dung Quat Oil Refinery and sold on the local market in order to secure the fuel supply for the economy in the coming years. The use of biofuels is intended to prolong the operational life of motor engines and reduce air pollution.