It might have surprised you to read recently that if you have ever eaten a crumpet or drank a beer in the pub, carbon dioxide (CO2) has played a large role in the process to make them both, plus many other everyday products and foods that you’ve never thought about before.
CO2 (carbon dioxide) is often portrayed as a bit of a nuisance, it has a reputation as a heavy pollutant and is a large factor contributing to global warming. It’s often easy to overlook the benefits that the gas has, and the integral part it plays in the food and drinks industry.
The world cup has dominated the news headlines over the last few weeks, culminating in France’s victory. Hundreds of thousands of people have been gathering around their TV’s at home, or in their local pub and bars, anxiously watching the ball being kicked from end to end. What would happen if they went for a refill of their favourite pint of beer and were met with the words “we’ve run out”?! Well this is what has happened to many people in well known establishments up and down the UK and parts of Europe. Some pubs completely ran out of popular tipples including John Smith’s beer and Strongbow cider, amid world cup fever and soaring temperatures.
Carbon dioxide is a key element in the production of beer, cider and soft drinks like coke and lemonade. CO2 is a crucial component of the drink that gives it the fizz and some added taste, without it, the drink would be flat and not have the bubbles that are distinctive of a good pint. The gas is also used to push beverages along drinks lines and pipework so it can be dispensed from pumps at the bar.
The CO2 shortage that has created so many problems over the past few weeks occurred due to two main factors, firstly an unusually high number of factory closures who produce commercial CO2 as a by-product of the fertiliser industry, farmers do not need as much fertiliser due to the warm weather, leading to ammonia plants being shut down for essential maintenance work instead and secondly due to a significant increase in beverage consumption, attributed to the world cup.
Due to the shortage, CO2 has become very valuable to certain manufacturers and should, where possible, not be wasted. One way to ensure that gas is not leaking from any facilities that you’re responsible for is to install a gas detection monitor. The unit will alarm when it detects gas leaking from a CO2 cylinder or pipework transferring it, saving precious revenue, but will also, and definitely more importantly, save a life.
Just a small increase of 1.5% CO2 in a confined space can start to have an affect on the human body, the Ax60+ multi-gas monitor can be set to a customer specific alarm set points, but it is also programmed to alert at a lower 1.5% CO2 and higher 3%, when if left undetected can eventually cause asphyxiation and death.
The shortage of CO2 this summer has highlighted the range of food and beverage items its used in, but it should also act as a reminder of the importance of installing a gas monitor to detect for any leaks, protecting businesses from the impact of lost profits but also to maintain employees and customers good health.
For more information on what type of gas detector would work in your business, or to learn more about the dangers of increased CO2 please just get in contact with us.
Author: Thomas Wilkinson-Lowes