The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Is this the solution to New Zealand’s CO2 shortage?

Recent closures of traditional carbon dioxide (CO2) sources in multiple markets have caused a world-wide shortage of food grade CO2, the essential ingredient to keep the bubbles in beer.

This came on the back of the 2022 closure of the Marsden Point oil refinery, which supplied the majority of New Zealand’s food grade CO2.

Ohaaki geothermal site

New Zealand is now having to import food grade CO2, which is costly and in short supply.

The team at Contact Energy’s Ohaaki geothermal site near Taupō has developed a way of capturing the small amount of naturally-occurring carbon dioxide released during the geothermal power generation process and converting it to food grade quality.

Contact’s CEO Mike Fuge says in order for plans to convert to be successful, they need help.

This week Contact says it will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP), inviting potential partners to assist with capturing, cleaning and converting the carbon dioxide emitted from Ohaaki power station to food grade quality, so it’s safe to use.

“This is a really exciting opportunity,” says Mike Fuge. “We have done a massive amount of testing, and the results are very positive.

“Not only will this initiative help reduce carbon emissions including those from burning fossil fuels to ship CO2 to New Zealand, but it could also create around 40 jobs in the Taupō area and help solve New Zealand’s food grade CO2 shortage by creating a homegrown source that will increase supply and lessen cost.

“This is a great outcome for NZ Inc as it will improve the country’s resilience and independence.”

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