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Media / Application stories / Atlas Copco CO2 booster ensures food safety and cost-effective, reliable performance

Atlas Copco CO2 booster ensures food safety and cost-effective, reliable performance


Wilrijk, Belgium, March 2014. In order to ensure the quality and safety of its rice products, S.P. SpA Italy uses an Atlas Copco oil-free HX booster to compress and recycle CO2 during the recovery phase of its disinfestation process.

Packaged rice
The Italian company S.P. SpA is a leading producer and seller of loose and prepackaged conventional and organic rice, as well as handmade pasta, in the global market. The company is committed to the highest quality standards, and processing at its facility conforms to HACCP, ISO9001, IFS, BRC, and other important certifications. Food safety has always been regarded as a top priority for the company.

S.P. SpA is one of the first Italian companies to treat its rice using an innovative CO2 disinfestation treatment that guarantees optimal safety. Furthermore, the company is the first one in Italy to recover and recycle the CO2 used during processing for additional use.

Oil-free solution safeguards product quality

CO2 disinfestation treatment of rice
The carbon dioxide treatment involves holding the prepackaged rice inside receivers at a pressure of 20 bar(e) and then maintaining this pressure for a specific period of time. Once this process is finished in the first pressurized receiver, the CO2 is moved to a second empty receiver until reaching pressure balance.

Instead of being released into the atmosphere, the remaining CO2 in the first receiver can be recovered and boosted to the required treatment pressure value for the second receiver. This sequence can be repeated for significant savings of CO2.

To recover the CO2, S.P. SpA uses an Atlas Copco oil-free HX booster. Atlas Copco’s HX oil-free reciprocating compressor offers cost-effective operations and minimal maintenance costs. Because of the PTFE piston rings and long distance pieces, an HX compressor is the right solution when compressed gas is in contact with an end product, such as rice.

Giovanni Ingino, Project Manager at S.P. SpA, explains, “We definitely needed an oil-free solution in order to safeguard our product quality and provide great flexibility of use in the compression process. The Atlas Copco oil-free HX booster could guarantee the integrity of the compressed gas during the recovery phase and was perfectly adapted to the job with a variable inlet pressure between 2 and 7 bar(e) and the 20 bar(e) pressure at discharge. It was definitely the right choice for us.”

CO2 compression requires the expertise of specialists

HX oil-free reciprocating compressor
A wide variety of regulation systems adjust the flow rate according to the real utilization of the machine. The HX compressor’s low piston speed and low inter-stage temperatures preserve the inner parts of the machine for high reliability, and the reciprocating technology ensures excellent volumetric efficiency and economic operation in terms of energy use. Furthermore the horizontal design with balanced opposed arrangement keeps vibrations to an extremely low level.

CO2 compression requires the expertise of specialists. The internal components need to be adapted to the gas composition and especially to moisture content.

“Atlas Copco has the experience in handling wet or dry CO2, which is a good basis for quality and safe operation,” says Antonio Stefanile, Product Marketing Manager, Atlas Copco Italy. “The good interaction with the customer and the ability to be able to supply the right solution for the satisfaction of our customer is very rewarding, and thanks to the proximity of our sales and service teams, we are very keen to provide high quality service at all times and for a long time.”

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Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions. The Group serves customers with innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Atlas Copco develops products and service focused on productivity, energy efficiency, safety and ergonomics.  The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 180 countries. In 2013, Atlas Copco had revenues of BSEK 84 (BEUR 9.7) and more than 40 000 employees.

Atlas Copco’s Compressor Technique business area provides industrial compressors, vacuum solutions, gas and process compressors and expanders, air and gas treatment equipment and air management systems. It has a global service network. Compressor Technique innovates for sustainable productivity in the manufacturing, oil and gas, and process industries. Principal product development and manufacturing units are located in Belgium, Germany, the United States, China, India and Korea.