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Sacramento's Pacific Ethanol Inc. has deal to sell CO2

Sacramento-based Pacific Ethanol Inc. said Wednesday that it has an agreement to sell carbon dioxide from its plant in Stockton.

The local company’s agreement is with Pennsylvania-based Airgas USA LLC, a subsidiary of the Air Liquide, the large French multinational company that supplies industrial gases and services worldwide.

Pacific Ethanol said Airgas plans to construct a liquid CO2 production plant adjacent to PEI’s Stockton facility.

CO2 is utilized by various industrial companies internationally.

In a statement, Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol's president and CEO, said: “The opportunity to utilize the CO2 from our ethanol production process as another co-product for sale further diversifies our revenues and improves Pacific Ethanol's profitability. We anticipate Airgas’ new CO2 processing plant in Stockton to begin operations by the end of 2018 and to contribute at least $1 million a year in operating income."

In recent years, PEI has endeavored to diversify its product offerings, including production of corn oil in 2015.

Last month, PEI reported a net loss available to common stockholders in last year’s fourth quarter of $13.6 million, or 32 cents per share, compared with net income of $12.6 million, or 30 cents a share, in the last quarter of 2016.

In calendar 2017, the company had a net loss of $36.2 million, or 85 cents per share, compared with net income available to common stockholders of $148,000 in 2016.