The US is seeing an increase in CO2 shortages with no end in sight.
With many industries taking a hit the food and beverage industry is taking the brunt of it, with companies in the Southeast and Southwest struggling the most.
CO2 is used widely in the food and beverage industry as a refrigerant and is also used in Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) to improve shelf life and in carbonating drinks.
Contamination is believed to be a leading factor that has led to the short supply. According to gasworld many C02 firms operating in liquefaction and purification have been faced with a contaminated product and could not fully operate.
According toThe Washington Post“the problem is the contamination of a site in Jackson Dome, Miss., which is one of the country’s largest CO2 producers. There, raw gas from a mine reduced the amount of food-grade CO2 available. Another factor is planned and unplanned maintenance shutdowns at several ammonia plants that are key producers of CO2 … as well as the usual higher demand in summer months.”
These supply issues are causing some food and beverage manufacturers to cut back on production, alter production schedules, pay increased CO2 costs or to close completely.
Last year,Alewerks Brewing Company had to shut down production for a week because of a limited supply of the gas, said Michael Claar, operations director at the brewery based in Williamsburg, Va.
Replacing some of your CO2 needs with Nitrogen.
Nitrogen is quickly becoming the go-to gas for use in food and beverage manufacturing instead of CO2 when possible and there are many benefits to using nitrogen.
Can be produced in house
In some processes, nitrogen can function just the same as CO2 when used in food and beverage environments. As stated by the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS), nitrogen can be used in place of carbon dioxide in places like smaller breweries, to remove oxygen when purging tanks which will then prevent oxidation and contamination. Nitrogen can also be used for clean in place (CIP) pipework and vessel purging in the food processing industry. Modified atmosphere packaging is used to replace oxygen with nitrogen, which will significantly slow the process of decay in food.
One of the biggest advantages of all is that nitrogen can be produced in-house. The good news is, if you already have an air compressor, you’re halfway there. All you need is a connected nitrogen generator unit to generate your own nitrogen in-house and the benefits to in-house nitrogen production are numerous.