Image: Jungbunzlauer: Citric Acid Plant

Industrial & Infrastructure2 min read

Jungbunzlauer: Citric Acid Plant

Port Colborne, Ontario
Jungbunzlauer Canada Inc.

Jungbunzlauer, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, specialises in producing natural, biodegradable ingredients for the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. One of these ingredients is citric acid, used in soft drinks, fruit drinks, beverages, candies, ice cream, bakery and other food and pharmaceutical products.

In 2000, Jungbunzlauer began construction of the $120 million citric acid facility in Port Colborne, Ontario, its first plant in North America. Processing fermentation feed stock supplied by neighbouring Casco Inc.; the plant will increase the company's worldwide citric acid capacity by roughly 30% serving the North, Central and South American markets.

Ausenco was retained to design the foundations, main steel structure, building envelope, siding, roofing, office and plant HVAC, electrical distribution and services for the citric acid plant.

Ausenco was also responsible for the design of the tank farm and several ancillary buildings. The process design was carried out by Jungbunzlauer in Austria. The citric acid plant consists of a pre-engineered warehouse and a 7 storey conventional steel frame structure.

The warehouse measures 75m x 50m x 9.9m high and the steel frame structure measures approximately 132m x 40m x 25.5m. The building also contains 4 levels of offices, including laboratory and cafeteria facilities.

The structure presented some interesting challenges, as the client did not want to sprinkler the building due to process concerns, it had to be compartmentalised into five different zones to meet code requirements for fire. This provided the reduced areas necessary for non sprinklered buildings. Structurally, this meant that the plant had to be designed as five separate buildings with double columns at each interface.

The design as five separate buildings made steel erection convenient as each could be put together as a separate unit. This also accommodated construction scheduling, particularly involving receipt and installation of the large vessels. All steel work is entirely galvanised because of the acidic nature of the process. The concrete is coated with a mildly acid resistant overlay. The total plant includes a 4,000 m2 pre-engineered warehouse for the final bagging and shipping of the citric acid.