Pandemic has created a shortage in CO2, needed for water supply and to produce fresh food, preserved food and beverages

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I think this issue will be stabilized soon. I’ve been hearing a lot of trains that go the local ethanol plant today.


Ethanol production was already ramping down because Russia and Saudi Arabia were flooding the market with a expensive gasoline.

Did you mean inexpensive?


I think it’s flipped in another place too

flooding the market with a expensive gasoline. And then people stop driving because of the coronavirus pandemic and ethanol production increased even more.

Should be with inexpensive gasoline and ethanol production decreased.


If it weren’t for silly regulations (thanks beverage industry), that ethanol production could have gone up. Plenty of drinking going on during the lockdown, IMHO.

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I bet that last bit about the beer was intended to induce urgency in the request.

“Impact fresh food!” yawn

“Impact water treatment!” what’s on tv?

“Impact beer production.” HOLY SHIT!!!


“We have to make alcohol so we can make beer!” Hmmm, yes?


I’m making CO2 right now!


These fears are just full of hot air.

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Not just water, food, and beverage but also critical medical research, including vaccine development. Cell culture requires pretty specific environments, including (usually) a 10% CO2 controlled environment. So developing & testing drugs and vaccines requires an ongoing supply of a surprising amount of CO2.


For what it’s worth, the brewery where I work was just told the same thing by Airgass. We’re scrambling to find other sources, but this might be the final factor that shuts down or severely curtails our production.


The Defense Production Act could solve this problem rather directly.

I am not going to hold my breath waiting for a certain orange shit-gibbon to act on that, however.

P.S. My apologies to all the gibbons who are maligned by my choice of appellation for ⊥rump.


Yeah but sales in the alcohol business have tanked. The bulk of the business is in on-premise (bars, restaurants, hotels casinos) which is all closed/take out only. Upticks in retail come nowhere close to offsetting the losses.

Source: my pay check.

Breweries are cutting production, laying off staff, or temporarily shutting down.

Many distilleries can’t really do that to the same level, cause ramp up and production time lines are much longer. You don’t want to cause yourself a massive shortage 6 years down the line. But the sales hit is happening there too. And production and staff levels are being cut.

So same problem, reduced market for the main product means less of the byproduct coming out.


The Compressed Gas Association needs YOU to drink up and spur increased ethanol production!

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It would be interesting to know how far back in the production process CO2 gets allocated to different purity grades.

I’d assume that, if they have to choose, a supplier that deals in everything from industrial to research grade CO2 would not be inclined to cut output of the higher end/lower volume products first; but I don’t know if things are set up such that they get to choose on short notice; or if some aspect of the production chain or supply contracts could keep CO2 going to applications one would assume are less critical(and lower margin) while it continues to make it to soda bottlers and such.


“Nah, fuck that dude.”



I would imagine that it would be driving labs to buy their own benchtop CO2 gas generators. It’s the really big institutional labs that have huge CO2 tanks outside that are probably hurting.


If this impacts use of my Soda Stream I will flip my shit. I drink almost nothing but plain carbonated water.


Interesting that it is alcohol production in the US that produces the most commercial CO2. Here in the UK (and across Europe), it is a byproduct of producing synthetic ammonia from natural gas.

We had a shortage in 2018 when three of the five big ammonia plants in the country were shut for routine maintenance and it led to shortages of fizzy drinks, beer and the closure of abattoirs.


The weirdest part is that beer brewing produces more carbon dioxide during the main fermentation than the brewery can use. A good mid-size brewery should be storing the CO2 and use it for evacuating air in the tanks, the fillers and so on. And even have enough to fill canisters for the pubs. I guess it was cheaper to just vent it and not have a system for capturing the gas—brewing creates enough CO2 that a guy I worked with almost passed out.

Source: I was a fully certified beer brewer from 1990 to 1997 at the Bayreuther Bierbrauerei AG and the Brauerei Gebrüder Maisel, both in Bayreuth, Germany.