Ethanol producers, including the Sunoco Ethanol plant, have identified an additional revenue stream from CO2. This ethanol based CO2 by-product now makes up nearly one third of the North American supply of CO2.
CO2 from ethanol plants is regarded as high grade after some minor processing to remove the small amounts of impurities. A typical ethanol plant producing 50 million gallons of ethanol per year will also produce roughly 150,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
About 40 percent of the North American merchant market for CO2 is sourced from ethanol plants. These markets include the manufacturing of soft drinks, beer and frozen foods, and multiple industrial uses such as grain fumigation, pH reduction of municipal water and effluent, welding, metallurgy, rubber manufacturing and chemical production, just to name a few.
Food and beverage uses require high purity, driven by the standards of the International Society of Beverage Technologists. CO2 is also used in heavy industrial processes such as enhanced oil recovery and fracturing, which are techniques for the recovery of oil from older oil wells.
In fact, to take advantage of the CO2 being produced by the Sunoco Ethanol Fulton plant, Linde North America, a member of The Linde Group, a world-leading gases and engineering company built a 600 ton-per-day CO2 plant on the site of the Sunoco Ethanol plant.
Sunoco’s partnership with Linde is good for the environment and the local economy. Capturing, processing, and re-selling CO2 will mean more jobs for the local economy and further position the Sunoco Ethanol facility as one of the nation’s cleanest and greenest.
Linde’s plant, which produces CO2 for use in food, beverage and chemical manufacturing, captures CO2 emissions from the ethanol plant that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere. This plant is one of a network of more than 30 Linde C02 plants around the U.S.