Four politicians to cut a single ribbon might sound like the beginning of a snide joke but it was actually a cause for celebration as Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti, Northland MP and NZ First Leader Winston Peters, Labour MP David Parker, and Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai attended the opening of BOC’s new $40 million CO2 capture and purification plant at Refining NZ’s Marsden Point oil refinery.
Described by Refining NZ ceo Sjoerd Post as a win-win for New Zealand business, the new plant can purify up to 50,000 tonnes of food-grade liquid CO2 annually and features innovative technology that allows the leading industrial gas supplier to exceed internationally recognised food and beverage standards, says BOC, which has signed a 15-year-plus contract for supply with Refining New Zealand.
“This new plant has significantly increased our CO2 capture and purification capability and storage capacity in New Zealand” said BOC South Pacific md Colin Isaac, “allowing us to meet future increases in CO2 demand and providing reliability of supply to large volumes of CO2 to customers in high consumption industries such as the major dairy export market.”
“BOC has operated in New Zealand for more than 100 years and understands the importance of investing in local partnerships and infrastructure to ensure we meet the needs of our customers long into the future. This new plant demonstrates a strong commitment from BOC and our long-term partner Refining NZ to deliver innovative solutions that supports growth in the New Zealand economy.”
Post said that taking a by-product to use as an essential feed-stock is a significant growth opportunity for manufacturers and exporters. At the same time it creates a revenue stream for Refining NZ independent of refining margins and the exchange rate. CO2 is used for carbonation of beverages, as a chilling agent in the food industry, modified atmosphere packaging of dairy and other food products, pH control on pH balancing applications and as an industrial solvent.
Despite being in New Zealand, the plant is run remotely from Sydney, with just one employee on site at Marsden Point.