Carbon dioxide: problem or solution?

Paul Boughton

Over the past few decades CO2 has received a notoriously bad reputation. It is thought to be the main cause of global warming and is associated with toxic emissions. Overall, when you hear CO2, you think pollution.

FeyeCon - a Dutch based clean tech company - sees it differently. CO2 is not just a problem but also provides solutions for many environmental challenges. When CO2 reaches the supercritical phase – when a substance has both beneficial properties of a liquid and a gas –   is when the magic happens. It is in this phase that CO2 becomes a particularly versatile processing solvent. It has high solvent power, high permeability and offers a tunable process.

Moreover it is a safe, non-toxic, non-flammable substance that is reclaimed from other industries. Three examples of how CO2 can actually save the planet without making concessions to our economy.

Textile dyeing - water and process chemical free 

The textile industry is a major consumer of water and is actually the world’s second largest polluter of clean drinking water.

To dye one kilo of textile you need around 150 litres of drinking water and numerous processing chemicals. By using reclaimed CO2 in a supercritical state as a dyeing medium we eliminate 100% of the water and 100% of the processing chemicals while consuming 50% less energy On top of that, this results in a strong business case due to significant lower operational costs. Click HERE to read more.

Energy efficient food drying

To increase fresh foods shelf life they are often dried. This can be done with heat – which degenerates nutrients, taste and color of products – or by freeze-drying – which consumes enormous amounts of energy.

By using CO2 as a mild drying medium, we can preserve foods without misusing energy. CO2 drying uses 60% less energy than conventional methods. The dried products maintain their nutritional value as well as taste, colour and bite.

The result is a better quality and higher quantity of food preserved against competitive pricing. It also opens up possibilities to completely new healthy food concepts that before were too expensive or technically impossible. Click HERE to read more.

Solvent free medical tissue processing

Two facts about pathology: 1. One in every 10 pathology diagnoses is incorrect. 2. Pathology departments currently attribute most to a hospitals footprint by using xylene and isopropanol for tissue processing.

As you may have guessed by now, supercritical CO2 can replace the xylene completely. By using CO2 instead produces excellent validation results in shorter batch times.

Benchmark studies prove that results of samples processed with CO2 where equal or superior to traditionally processed samples. The use of CO2 also reduces the risk of cross-contamination between samples and increase the quality of the diagnosis. This means accurate and quick diagnosis for patients without creating toxic waste. Click HERE to read more.

Overall, CO2 technology offers a multitude of industries a clean alternative to process and produce. Although it requires an initial investment and commitment to implement new technology, the lean and efficient characteristics of CO2 technology ensures companies and our planet a healthy future. 

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