Worldwide CO2 shortage

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Angua
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Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby Angua » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:04 pm UTC

It's affecting drinks and animal slaughtering. Presumably will also start affecting labs which need dry ice?

I didn't even know this was a thing until now.
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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby trpmb6 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:10 pm UTC

Does the UK not have refrigerated lorries? Why the need for dry ice to transport goods?
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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby Angua » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:23 pm UTC

Dry ice is pretty commonly used for shipping and maintaining cold chains. It isn't just a UK thing.
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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:54 pm UTC

I guess I'm just not sure how there could be a shortage of a gas that is currently over-abundant in the atmosphere? I always assumed most industrial users of CO2 like bottling plants, were generating their own, either extracting it from the atmosphere, or burning hydrocarbons.
I could see how dry ice would be problematic and something you'd need to go to a more specialized supplier for, so a dry ice shortage makes some amount of sense to me, but carbon dioxide gas? I could whip up a good amount of that stuff with just what I've got in my kitchen right now.
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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:55 pm UTC

Isnt dry ice a byproduct of liquid oxygen/nitrogen production? I actually dont know.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby elasto » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:05 pm UTC

TIL that CO2 is used to suffocate animals into unconsciousness; If you've ever tried to hold your breath you'll know how immensely painful and stressful that experience becomes. That pain/panic response is directly triggered by rising levels of CO2 in the blood (not falling levels of oxygen for which you feel nothing - which is why Carbon Monoxide is so dangerous.)

It made no sense that this was being tipped as a humane approach. A quick googling showed that, no, of course it isn't. Nitrogen asphyxiation by contrast is like gently falling to sleep, and can even be euphoric. Gotta shave those pennies off the cost though..!
Last edited by elasto on Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby speising » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:07 pm UTC

gasworld wrote:Traditionally, one of the largest sources of food grade CO2 in Europe has been from ammonia plants. While in the past decade, other sources of CO2 have been invested in – including raw gas streams from chemical operations and bi-ethanol plants – ammonia still remains one of the largest sources, especially in Western Europe. Major ammonia plants exist in the UK, Norway, the Netherlands and in France.

However, ammonia is used in fertiliser production and the peak production output for fertilisers is generally from August to March or winter months. Fertiliser companies then plan maintenance or shutdowns in April through to June on a regular basis – but this is coincidently the peak time for production of soft and alcoholic drinks. What has compounded the situation this year is not only the timing of all the maintenance procedures, but that ammonia market prices have fallen to a low and imports are available from outside of Western Europe that has led to European producers prolonging the downtime of the ammonia plants within the region. Also due to the higher pricing of natural gas – a major raw material for ammonia production - the margins in the ammonia business are not that attractive as well.

he. gasworld.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:08 pm UTC

elasto wrote:TIL that CO2 is used to suffocate animals into unconsciousness; If you've ever tried to hold your breath you'll know how immensely painful and stressful that experience becomes.

It made no sense that this was being tipped as a humane approach. A quick googling showed that, no, of course it isn't. Nitrogen asphyxiation by contrast is like gently falling to sleep, and can even be euphoric. Gotta shave those pennies off the cost though..!


This is especially bizarre because it really is pennies. Like, nitrogen is fucking cheap, and yeah -- asphyxiation via nitrogen is quite possibly among the most painless ways to go.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:30 pm UTC

IIRC, there were suggestions about replacing the electric chair with a carbon monoxide chamber. CO poisoning is painless, which is why it occurs so often because you dont notice it until you pass out. Problem was the witnesses didnt like not seeing the death without the pain...

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby speising » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:32 pm UTC

maybe there are safety concerns for the humans working there? because N is really dangerous since you don't even notice you're dying. (see STS-1 pre-lauch accident)
Last edited by speising on Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:35 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby orthogon » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:34 pm UTC

How's that worldwide helium shortage these days? A few years back there was a serious threat to party balloons and people speaking in high-pitched, amusing voices caused by inconsiderate medics squandering all our resources on frivolous NMR scans and the like.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby Zamfir » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:35 am UTC

guess I'm just not sure how there could be a shortage of a gas that is currently over-abundant in the atmosphere? I always assumed most industrial users of CO2 like bottling plants, were generating their own, either extracting it from the atmosphere, or burning hydrocarbons.

Concentration is the issue. It's easy to make carbon dioxide, but much harder to make concentrated, mostly pure CO2. Especially in bulk at bulk prices.

Think about it, there are nitrogen plants that send out nitrogen trucks to nitrogen users, even though nitrogen is 80% of the air.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:59 pm UTC

Wikipedia says it's easy to make. It's generally a byproduct of something that produces a lot of CO2, like ammonia production. I still think there should be enough from the byproduct from liquid nitrogen and oxygen production.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby Thesh » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:04 pm UTC

So, if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that the only possible solution is to legalize weed worldwide, and collect the CO2 produced during decarboxylation when making edibles on a commercial scale?
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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:16 pm UTC

Not the only solution but if that helps legalizes- Yes it is the only solution. No alternatives exist.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby Zamfir » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:24 pm UTC

Wikipedia says it's easy to make. It's generally a byproduct of something that produces a lot of CO2, like ammonia production

Not so much a lot of CO2, but a high concentration of CO2. The purer the original flow, the cheaper the purification process. Nearly all CO2 is released from air-fueled combustion processes. Those do not produce very high concentrations of CO2, because the nitrogen of the combustion air stays in the flue gas. Of course, extraction from the air is far worse.

Edgar wondered why plants would buy CO2 from outside, instead of making it themselves. Concentration is the answer - the cost is not in making CO2, but in purifying. The outside sources have access to a higher concentration flow of CO2 to start with, and therefore have lower cost to purify.

Beer makers are a typical exception. Fermention produces CO2 , and many beer plants do capture the CO2 and sell it to pubs.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:41 pm UTC

But if we assume, say, 15% of the exhaust from a smokestack is CO2, that still gives you a lot of dry ice with your liquid nitrogen. Compared to the air, where you get something like 1kg for every 2000kg of nitrogen (okokok mass and PPM arent the same so it's more like 2kg or something, given that theres 3 atoms there). I just hope they scrub out all the sulphur impurities from that stack...

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby Crissa » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:07 pm UTC

It is super-easy to make, which is why it's the cheapest of concentrated gases.

I'd just figure that with long-haul refrigeration and shipping dropping prices, local concentrators were edged out of the market.

Recently massive consumption jumps for the gas via fracking (Concentrated CO2 is used to boil the last bits of oil out of the ground), along with the subsidies for interring rather than selling CO2 gas and new ways of making metals and glass inside CO2 atmosphere bubbles (all those phones, for instance)... until the big producers weren't able to keep up with ramping demand.

Just because something is easy to make doesn't mean the equipment is easy to start up.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:14 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Beer makers are a typical exception. Fermention produces CO2 , and many beer plants do capture the CO2 and sell it to pubs.

I'm still trying to figure this out. I was under the impression that beer is just sold with the naturally-produced carbonation already in it? Why would pubs need it? Unless it's for the soda dispensers or something?
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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby Dauric » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:25 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Beer makers are a typical exception. Fermention produces CO2 , and many beer plants do capture the CO2 and sell it to pubs.

I'm still trying to figure this out. I was under the impression that beer is just sold with the naturally-produced carbonation already in it? Why would pubs need it? Unless it's for the soda dispensers or something?


CO2 is pumped in to the keg, the displacement forces the beer out of the keg. CO2 is used because it doesn't react with the beer to change it's taste, where using compressed air would cause the beer to 'go stale'.
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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:00 pm UTC

Wait, doesn't the air go stale from the oxygen reacting with microbes? Why can't compressed nitrogen work?

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby DavidSh » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:35 pm UTC

In fact, Guinness has been using nitrogen for decades. Apparently it changes the taste, however.

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby Thesh » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:36 pm UTC

That's what Guinness does, specifically because it produces a very different texture.
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CorruptUser
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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:13 pm UTC

So... do the world a favor and drink more Guinness?

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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby Thesh » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:32 pm UTC

Or sell beer naturally carbonated in the keg and use a closed system that only uses enough CO2 to fill the volume, selling the keg with recoverable CO2 back to the brewery.
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Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:21 am UTC

Too complicated, so more Guinness.

Mathematician here, Guinness is our patron company due to William Gossett, aka "Student" of "Student's T".


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