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CO2 Recovery

As well as helping to reduce production costs, CO2 recovery from fermentation means a greener process overall, with lower emissions and a reduced carbon footprint.

CO2 generated during fermentation is a valuable resource that can be recovered, purified and reused within the brewery, or sold on to the food and beverage industry. As well as helping to reduce production costs, CO2 recovery from fermentation means a greener process overall, with lower emissions and a reduced carbon footprint.

CO2 recovery on any scale

GEA CO2 recovery technology generates 99.998% pure, food-grade CO2, which can be used in house for carbonating your own beers, sparkling wines and other beverages, and may completely remove the need to purchase CO2 from external suppliers. Alternatively, the recovered CO2 can represent an additional revenue stream, and be sold to the beverage industry for use in carbonation, for example, or marketed to the food and other industries for use in manufacturing dry ice. A GEA CO2 recovery system could pay for itself within 1.5-4.0 years.

We can provide CO2 recovery plants with a capacity up to 5,000 kg/h, and can, if required, configure systems that are capable of stripping CO2 from early fermentation. The final design of any system will be dependent on the type of fermentation process and amount of CO2 generated, the raw materials used, and how the recovered clean CO2 will be used. We will always work with you to customize the best system using durable, high-performing components, whether you are building a new plant or are setting up CO2 recovery into an existing brewery. The aim is always to try to integrate the system seamlessly into your existing energy supply systems, to help optimize efficiency and energy usage. The GEA CO2 recovery system is designed to be maintenance friendly. Downtime for servicing is kept as low as possible, and plant availability is above 95%. 

Process description

CO2 recovery process flow

  1. Raw gas generated by fermenting microorganisms is captured
  2. Gas scrubbers purify the gas from any alcohol and aerosols
  3. The gas is compressed to reduce volume 
  4. Then the gas is purified and dried to reduce the relative humidity, prior to liquefaction
  5. Gas liquefaction reduces volume and also acts as a first purification step that separates the condensed CO2 from non-condensable gases, including O2 and N2
  6. In the stripping and reboiler unit the O2 content is further reduced to less than 5 ppm. This step results in 99,998% food-grade purity CO2
  7. The purified, liquid CO2 is then stored until required

GEA has decades of experience configuring end-to-end brewery solutions as well as individual plants and components, so we really do have detailed knowledge of each stage in your processes, including those upstream and downstream of CO2 recovery. We use all this combined knowledge and insight to design solutions that can optimize efficiency in both CO2 recovery and refrigeration, while keeping your capital investment as low as possible. 

Where possible our systems can also help to minimize the use of resources and recover energy. The waste heat from the CO2 recovery system’s compressor can be reused in other parts of the brewery, to help to reduce overall brewery energy costs. 

The GEA CO2 recovery technology is fully automated, which further helps to improve energy efficiency when compared with a manually controlled system. There is also less need for manual intervention, freeing up personnel for other tasks.

Benefits at a glance

  • Maximum CO2 purity (99,998%)
  • Heat recovery and automation reduce operating costs, and improve operational reliability and sustainability  
  • Efficient CO2 recovery can enable independence from the CO2 market 

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