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Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:04 pm UTC
by Angua
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.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:10 pm UTC
by trpmb6
Does the UK not have refrigerated lorries? Why the need for dry ice to transport goods?

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:23 pm UTC
by Angua
Dry ice is pretty commonly used for shipping and maintaining cold chains. It isn't just a UK thing.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:54 pm UTC
by EdgarJPublius
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.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:55 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Isnt dry ice a byproduct of liquid oxygen/nitrogen production? I actually dont know.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:05 pm UTC
by elasto
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..!

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:07 pm UTC
by speising
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.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:08 pm UTC
by The Great Hippo
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.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:30 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
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...

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:32 pm UTC
by speising
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)

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:34 pm UTC
by orthogon
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.

ETA: Gasworld to the rescue again!

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:35 am UTC
by Zamfir
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.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:59 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
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.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:04 pm UTC
by Thesh
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?

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:16 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Not the only solution but if that helps legalizes- Yes it is the only solution. No alternatives exist.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:24 pm UTC
by Zamfir
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.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:41 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
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...

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:07 pm UTC
by Crissa
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.

-Crissa

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:14 pm UTC
by commodorejohn
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?

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:25 pm UTC
by Dauric
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'.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:00 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Wait, doesn't the air go stale from the oxygen reacting with microbes? Why can't compressed nitrogen work?

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:35 pm UTC
by DavidSh
In fact, Guinness has been using nitrogen for decades. Apparently it changes the taste, however.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:36 pm UTC
by Thesh
That's what Guinness does, specifically because it produces a very different texture.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:13 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
So... do the world a favor and drink more Guinness?

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:32 pm UTC
by Thesh
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.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:21 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Too complicated, so more Guinness.

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

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:31 pm UTC
by orthogon
CorruptUser wrote:Too complicated, so more Guinness.

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

Yeah, I'm always going on about the important contribution Guinness made to modern statistics, although they presumably weren't all that happy at the time. I'm not a massive Guinness fan myself, and the story does make the company come across as coldly scientific and analytical, which is almost certainly correct, but at odds with the cheeky Irish fun-loving feck-it-all image that they'd probably like to portray.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:56 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Don't forget about the Guinness Book of World Records. Yes, same company, because they wanted something to solve classic bar arguments.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:06 am UTC
by pogrmman
CorruptUser wrote:Don't forget about the Guinness Book of World Records. Yes, same company, because they wanted something to solve classic bar arguments.

Much like Michelin stars for restaurants and the tire company are one and the same (get people to drive to restaurants, sell more tires).

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:16 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Hey, at least they are providing an actual, useful service to increase demand. Unlike DeBeers, which merely bribed Hollywood to feature wedding proposals with diamonds. Or the restaurant industry itself, which bribed Hollywood to show that every date involved a fancy restaurant (in addition to Hollywood showing the "movie" half of the basic "dinner and a movie" date).

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:06 pm UTC
by sardia
CorruptUser wrote:Hey, at least they are providing an actual, useful service to increase demand. Unlike DeBeers, which merely bribed Hollywood to feature wedding proposals with diamonds. Or the restaurant industry itself, which bribed Hollywood to show that every date involved a fancy restaurant (in addition to Hollywood showing the "movie" half of the basic "dinner and a movie" date).

Source?

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:30 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
NY Post; How America was conned into buying diamonds

Trying to find the source I read for the dinner date thing, but it's a bit more difficult to find, given that Google seems to think I want to go to 500 restaurants instead...

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:52 pm UTC
by Tyndmyr
I suspect the restaurant one is the bit being requested. The diamonds thing is fairly well known now.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:04 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Yeah I can't seem to re-find it. Feel free to ignore that one then.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:06 pm UTC
by Tyndmyr
Shame, that sounds like a cool read. Lemme know if it turns up!

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:51 am UTC
by gd1
Global CO2 shortage eh? Clearly we all just need to breathe harder.

Re: Worldwide CO2 shortage

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:30 am UTC
by elasto
gd1 wrote:Global CO2 shortage eh? Clearly we all just need to breathe harder.

Or cut down some trees. Which would probably make us breathe hard. A double win!

Re: European CO2 shortage

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:32 am UTC
by DavidSh
The originally referenced article only talks about a shortage in the UK and mainland Europe. Generating CO2 in other continents won't be very helpful.

Re: European CO2 shortage

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:58 pm UTC
by sardia
DavidSh wrote:The originally referenced article only talks about a shortage in the UK and mainland Europe. Generating CO2 in other continents won't be very helpful.

That'll teach these punks for posting (mediocre) quips.

Re: European CO2 shortage

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:22 pm UTC
by elasto
DavidSh wrote:The originally referenced article only talks about a shortage in the UK and mainland Europe. Generating CO2 in other continents won't be very helpful.

If Trump's wall is high and impervious enough to prevent Murican CO2 from drifting into Europe then colour me impressed!

(Sorry, not that humorous either but, what-evah!)