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Co2 Shortage crisis!
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UndercoverElephant



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 8829
Location: south east England

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:44 pm    Post subject: Co2 Shortage crisis! Reply with quote

Got to love this. Apparently we don't have enough carbon dioxide!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44545010
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
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Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More "just in time" supply chains that given a little entirely predictable disruption, collapse into "not in time"

Years ago, most carbon dioxide sold in the UK was from Distillers PLC, a company noted for the production of distilled spirits.
Then carbon dioxide as a by product of fertiliser production became cheaper, but is vulnerable to variable fertiliser demand.

Carbon dioxide tankers are AFAIK not permitted in the channel tunnel, nor below deck on ferries, and are not permitted at all on some ferries, thereby limiting imports.

The only way I can see around the problem would be a number of large road tankers from Southern Europe on a specially chartered ferry with extra precautions.
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UndercoverElephant



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
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Location: south east England

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

More "just in time" supply chains that given a little entirely predictable disruption, collapse into "not in time"


It's the inter-connectness knock-on effect that seems interesting to me. I never knew that CO2 was a key requirement for poultry slaughter and meat packaging. And yet it is only produced as a by-product of an unrelated industrial process.

In a globalised world where the large food suppliers are competing at the level of a few pennies on the price, what motive is there for anyone to pay the cost of investment in resilience? After all, if the Co2 runs out, like it is about to, then their competitors are going to be hit just as hard. It requires co-ordination from above, to create motives to build in resilience, or it won't happen, because it is an "unnecessary" cost.

And what might be the further knock-on effect? A perfect example of "just in time" is the poultry industry. Those birds have to be slaughtered at 28 days, or is it 27 now?, or the numbers stop adding up. What happens if they have to kept on "farms" for an extra fortnight? What happens if meat-packaging plants can't package their normal amount of meat? Nobody is paying any attention to this. Everybody just assumes the system will keep working, and can't afford to assume anything else even if they think it is wise to do so.

I wonder if there's going to be run on supermarket canned/bottled beers?
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I slaughter chickens I don't use any CO2. A sharp knife is all that is needed. The earth cookies might think it is necessary to lull them to sleep with C02 but really a quick death from a cut throat is good enough.
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UndercoverElephant



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
When I slaughter chickens I don't use any CO2. A sharp knife is all that is needed.


You aren't slaughtering them at the rate of 10,000 an hour though, are you.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Calls for government action !

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44559669
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Potemkin Villager



Joined: 14 Mar 2006
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Location: Narnia

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
Calls for government action !

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44559669


Subtext "Somebody else should pay!" - it's really gas!

" The BBPA has issued some guidance to its members reminding them that CO2 used in drinks, including for dispensing beer at the pumps, must be food grade gas.

"We'd be concerned this is not the time to go looking for a white van man who says they can supply you with CO2," she said. "

I wonder what makes it "food grade"?

And:-

"The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which represents brewers and 20,000 UK pubs, said the CO2 shortage was beginning to cause stoppages in beer production, although it did not name specific companies."

AKAIK brewing actually produces CO2 as a byproduct of fermrntation which is thrown away to add to ghg emissions rater than being recycled!
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason the brewing industry needs manufactured CO2 is to do with how they brew and bottle their products.

After fermentation, all of the CO2 is expelled from the product. it is then filtered to remove all dead yeast, sterilized and sweetened to taste. At that point, manufactured CO2 is pumped back into the product to make it fizzy at the point of bottling.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brewing does indeed produce co2, though it probably does not add directly* to climate change.
Some brewers do reuse the co2 from fermentation vats, but the process now finds little favour as it adds cost and complexity.
In years gone by, most co2 in the UK came from distillers PLC, a major producer of distilled spirits. It was not the actual distillation that produced co2 but rather the fermentation prior to distillation.

These days most co2 is a by-product of fertiliser manufacture, and the present shortage is largely due to annual shutdowns of fertiliser factories, these being planned for the season of low fertiliser demand.
The high price of natural gas in the UK is also a factor, some plants are extending the maintenance/holiday shutdown until either natural gas gets cheaper, or fertiliser gets more expensive.

I am not convinced that carbon dioxide sold to pubs is any different to that sold for industrial use, despite the claims about some being "food grade"

I suspect that a lot of industrial carbon dioxide is about to go into pub cellars, and that the odd blow up will result. A lot of industrial carbon dioxide cylinders have an internal dip tube connected to the outlet valve, such that LIQUID rather than gas is supplied. Pub cellar equipment is only designed for carbon dioxide gas, not liquid.
Such cylinders are painted black with a white line along the length of the cylinder.
Cylinders without the dip tube are plain black.

*the carbon dioxide from brewing vats has no direct influence on climate change, it is the carbon absorbed very recently by the growing of the barley. Had this not been harvested and used for brewing, it would have been eaten by man or beast, or rotted, and the same carbon would have been returned to the atmosphere in about the same time.
Virtually all breweries do of course have a carbon footprint from fuel used by the brewery.
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fuzzy



Joined: 29 Nov 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BOC used to sell all gas types, but of course they are now a European takeover [French??] and probably don't make stuff in the UK. Anyway it's a story about poor draught lager and beer not cask ale, so I could care less.
I imagine that the point about slaughter stun guns being CO2 not compressed air is for fire hazard and portability? Presumably CO2 compresses to a liquid and is cheap versus nitrogen.
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Potemkin Villager



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fuzzy wrote:


Anyway it's a story about poor draught lager and beer not cask ale, so I could care less.



Worthington White Shield is a rather fine bottled beer that fizzes nicely on it's own steam without recourse to the fertiliser industry! Draught Guinness, I believe, is propelled from keg to glass with nitrogen rather than CO2.
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Potemkin Villager



Joined: 14 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:


*the carbon dioxide from brewing vats has no direct influence on climate change, it is the carbon absorbed very recently by the growing of the barley. Had this not been harvested and used for brewing, it would have been eaten by man or beast, or rotted, and the same carbon would have been returned to the atmosphere in about the same time.


Thanks for this one Adam, I now feel much less guilty about all my glugging demijohns!
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adam2
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fuzzy wrote:
BOC used to sell all gas types, but of course they are now a European takeover [French??] and probably don't make stuff in the UK. Anyway it's a story about poor draught lager and beer not cask ale, so I could care less.


Carbon dioxide is used in the production of cask ale as well as processed keg beer.
When the wort or "beer to be" is pumped into the fermentation vessel, carbon dioxide is added to take up the free space above the wort that would otherwise be full of air. This exclusion of air aids quality control.
Likewise, before beer casks are filled with beer, they are filled with carbon dioxide which is then displaced by beer. This also improves quality by excluding oxygen, dust, dirt and wild yeast.
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Little John



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I brew my own beer. I produce my own C02 for the beer the old fashioned way. After separating the newly fermented beer from the dead yeast, I bottle it with a teaspoon of sugar. This then causes the beer to re-ferment slightly in the bottle, in turn producing CO2 which gives it its fizz. It means there will be a sediment of dead yeast in the bottom of the bottle (traditionally known as "the dregs") which requires careful pouring to avoid this sediment getting into the glass. But it's easy enough to achieve if you do it a few times. It usually means a loss of about 10% of the beer, which ends up remaining in the bottle mixed up with the yeast sediment. But, that's all. In any event, some people I know just drink the dregs along with the beer. I find if I do that, I get the shits.
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cubes



Joined: 10 Jun 2008
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Location: Norfolk

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Potemkin Villager wrote:
I wonder what makes it "food grade"?


I would expect it's a lack of contaminants, or at least ones known to be bad to humans.
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