“We’ve never dealt with Iowa mud before,” said Mark Brewer, Continental Carbonic vice president of manufacturing and engineering. “The soil conditions here are unique.”
Deep mud, due to the persistent rains of late May, surrounded the company’s new plant west of Denison last week.
Construction of the plant itself is mostly complete, but the weather slowed the pouring of concrete for the drives and parking lots at the site.
“It has been challenging,” Brewer said. “We’re looking forward to having all the concrete down and beginning operations.”
Even with the weather issues, construction remains close to the schedule the company initially set.
“We are very close to startup,” he said.
Brewer expects the plant to begin operations by the end of this week, but noted that additional rainfall could still cause delays.
The last piece of equipment was installed on Monday in the cavernous facility.
The facility will refine carbon dioxide (CO2) produced as a byproduct of ethanol production at the Andersons Denison Ethanol plant just north of the Continental Carbonic plant on the other side of Highway 30.
Transfer of the CO2 to the Continental Carbonic facility will take place by means of a pipeline the Andersons Denison Ethanol paid to have bored under the railroad tracks and under Highway 30 from the ethanol plant.
“We take that carbon dioxide and refine it to an ultrapure product,” Brewer said. “We liquefy that product and we use that product to make dry ice.”
The company still has two open production jobs.
He expects the jobs to be filled sometime this week.
Brewer said Continental Carbonic’s personnel have been treated like family by the people of Denison.
“We’re very excited to be in the Denison community and look forward to meeting all of its wonderful residents and being a good steward here,” he said.