Dakota Gas helps fill demand for beverage-grade carbon dioxide

A recent spike in demand for beverage-grade liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) is keeping the team busy at Dakota Gasification Company's Great Plains Synfuels Plant.

“The majority of demand was due to a shortage of supply in the market and partly due to the extended drought in the central and western U.S.," said Zach Jacobson, manager of Dakota Gas sales and marketing. "Supply shortages also stemmed from planned and unplanned outages of major gas producers, curtailment of ethanol plants, and logistics issues.”  

Current and prospective customers reached out to Dakota Gas to find out if they could help meet the demand for beverage-grade liquid CO2, which requires testing of over 20 specific parameters to ensure it is safe for consumption and meets the 99.9% purity level. “The contaminant level tolerance is very small and to keep a beverage certification, we must go through various audits and follow more stringent guidelines than what is regulated by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration),” Jacobson said.

“Dakota Gas can produce up to 200 tons of liquid CO2 per day and had the capacity to meet the demand, but due to truck availability we were not able to fulfill all of the demand,” he said. Since June 30, 2020, Dakota Gas has been able to produce enough product for its customers who then sell it to water treatment plants, as carbonation for beverages, and for refrigeration and preservation for food processing.

Dakota Gas recently sold its beverage-grade CO2 to a soft drink plant; however, Jacobson said most facilities can’t handle a bulk truckload. “We don’t have the resources and ability to provide service on tanks and/or to ship smaller quantities,” he said.

Jacobson expects demand will lessen as summer wraps up and other producers come on line. Going forward, he said Dakota Gas will be able to meet demand on a consistent basis, barring any unexpected market events.

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