A new gas plant began operations yesterday in Southwest Iceland, RÚV reports. Bernd Eulitz, CEO of the plant’s German parent company, says residents do not need to fear pollution from the plant.
The Ministry of Industries and Innovation formally opened the plant today, which is valued at ISK 2.5 billion (USD 25 million/EUR 20 million). Its capacity is one third higher than the old factory, located in Reykjavík.
“We take in the air as it is and clean it. That means we remove dust, carbon dioxide, and other impurities. Then we cool it at minus 200 degrees celsius,” Eulitz stated. Oxygen and nitrogen are then isolated from the gas and sold in liquid form.
The plant is run by Ísaga and is located in the town of Vogar on the Reykjanes peninsula. The location was chosen for its proximity to the company’s main customers, which are in the fishing industry. Oxygen from the plant is used in healthcare while other products are used in metal welding and food storage.
A silicon plant in the area was closed repeatedly due to air pollution, causing concern among residents that similar issues could arise at the new plant. Eulitz assures that concern is unwarranted. “That’s the good thing about our industry. We do not cause any environmental pollution. If anything escapes it dissolves back into the atmosphere within 6-8 metres from where the leak occurred. The only thing that can be seen is water vapour from the cooling tower,” Eulitz stated.
Only one or two employees work at the plant daily, which is operated electronically from Reykjavík. Ísaga, the Icelandic company which manages the plant, hopes to transfer all operations from Reykjavík to Vogar within the next five years.