No more drinks? Beverage manufacturers suffer from a shortage of carbon dioxide

22.09.2022 11:45
Avoid CO2 delivery bottlenecks by producing your own nitrogen
Avoid CO2 delivery bottlenecks by producing your own nitrogen

Herrsching, 22. September 2022

Avoid CO2 delivery bottlenecks by producing your own nitrogen

Industry is suffering more and more from the consequences of rising energy costs. High natural gas prices are already forcing various manufacturers to reduce or stop production. CO2 (carbon dioxide), which is mainly obtained as a by-product of fertilizer production and used in the beverage industry, is also becoming scarce at the moment. CO2 is the basis for carbonic acid (H2CO3), which is used to carbonize sparkling soft drinks, frothy beer or sparkling wine. The first beverage manufacturers already see their production as seriously endangered. However, there is a CO2 alternative that can serve as a substitute gas in many production steps of beverage manufacture and can thus alleviate the lack of CO2 and carbonic acid: nitrogen (N2). With the help of Inmatec nitrogen generators, the gas can be generated directly on site and production-endangering delivery bottlenecks can be avoided.

Fertilizer manufacturers are currently reducing their production due to high energy prices. The by-product of the ammonia synthesis is pure CO2, which is now becoming scarce. At the moment only around 30% of the normal CO2 delivery quantities are produced. A subsequent problem is the shortage of carbonic acid, a reaction product of CO2 and water.

CO2 is extremely important for the beverage industry. Pressed into the liquid under high pressure, it reacts with the water and becomes about 0.2% carbonic acid. This carbonation process is the basis of sparkling beverages such as soft drinks, beer or sparkling wine. In addition, CO2 is used in large quantities as a protective gas in beverage production, namely in all process steps in which contact of the beverage with oxygen must be avoided. Exposure to oxygen can lead to microbial infection or oxidative enzymatic reactions in beer, fruit juice, wine and other beverages. The result is a stale taste, discoloration and premature spoilage. Large amounts of CO2 are injected in the headspace of storage tanks, when decanting tanks and when filling bottles or barrels. Large breweries often have enough fermentation carbonic acid to cover these production processes. However, smaller breweries or other beverage manufacturers have to buy additional CO2.

Nitrogen replaces CO2 - climate-friendly and always available

Like CO2, nitrogen (N2) is an inert gas. Unlike oxygen, it does not interact with the beverage liquid. It is therefore optimally suited to be used as an alternative to CO2 wherever contact with oxygen must be prevented. By using nitrogen as an inert gas, large amounts of CO2 can be saved in the factory and used for carbonation.

In addition, N2 is a climate-neutral gas that does not contribute to global warming. As a natural component of the air, it can be generated directly from the ambient air with the help of Inmatec nitrogen generators. The continuous on-site nitrogen production makes breweries and beverage manufacturers independent of the external gas supply and delivery bottlenecks. The reduction in CO2 emissions also lowers the CO2 footprint and thus protects the climate and the environment.

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