A JAPANESE gas company is set to build a £9.5 million liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) hub at Warrenpoint Port.
Just days after work began the redevelopment of the port’s landmark Town Dock House as part of an overall £4m investment, Nippon Gases has announced it is to establish a CO2 import and distribution terminal in the Co Down town.
The new facility which will store liquid CO2 for the food and drinks industry across Ireland, aims to significantly improve security of supply for the gas on both sides of the border and also contribute to a major reduction in carbon emissions by minimising the need for road tankers.
Construction work on the hub is due to commence this summer, with the facility expected to be operational by June next year.
The project represents Nippon's first major investment on the island of Ireland since it purchased Praxair Gases Europe in December.
The establishment of the CO2 terminal, which will have the capacity to hold approximately 2,500 tonnes, follows a major shortage of the gas experienced in the UK and Ireland last summer.
Warrenpoint Port CEO, Clare Guinness hailed the investment as a "major endorsement" of the port.
“The project represents another important element in our efforts to enhance Warrenpoint Port’s offering and cement our position as a catalyst for economic growth in the local region and further afield," she said.
“This investment by Nippon Gases is a major endorsement of Warrenpoint Port and recognises the benefits provided by our unique position equidistant between Belfast and Dublin that ideally places the harbour to facilitate the distribution of goods across the whole of Ireland."
Gerard Dore, commercial manager at Nippon Gases, believes the new terminal will cater for the future CO2 supply needs on the island of Ireland.
"With this investment in Ireland, Nippon are changing the supply chain radically for their Irish customers by importing via ship rather than road tanker," he said.
"It is worth noting that one ship will be the equivalent of 90 road tankers coming across the Irish Sea. The carbon footprint reduction is very large. In addition we are also linking in with the more abundant CO2 source region of continental Europe, namely Netherlands. This is important as the British Isles currently do not produce sufficient quantities of CO2 for their annual usage."
“This facility will ensure we can continue to guarantee into the future food grade, completely traceable liquid Carbon Dioxide that Irish industry both north and south of the border desires. We are delighted to be working with Warrenpoint Port on this exciting venture and look forward to commissioning the terminal next year," Mr Dore added.
The announcement of the new hub comes as Warrenpoint Port begins work on a £4m capital investment programme, which a reconfiguration of internal infrastructure and the regeneration of the landmark Town Dock House building.