CO2 and Manufacturing: A Greener Approach to Industrial Processes

CO2 and Manufacturing: A Greener Approach to Industrial Processes

Bottled or packaged carbon dioxide (CO2) has emerging applications across manufacturing that can significantly reduce environmental impacts. When utilized strategically, bottled CO2 can assist industrial processes in taking a greener approach. 

Key Uses of Bottled CO2 in Manufacturing

Bottled CO2 has widespread and growing uses across manufacturing industry. The gas is already integrated into several production processes, with many new applications being researched.

Carbonating Beverages 

One of the most common uses of bottled CO2 is carbonating beverages like soda, beer, sparkling water and juice. Highly pressurized liquid CO2 is injected into beverages during production, dissolving and creating bubbles that lend a fresher, zestier taste. This carbonation step is critical for many best-selling drinks. As beverage manufacturers aim to meet rising consumer demand in a sustainable way, bottled CO2 enables greener carbonated drink production.

Controlled Atmosphere Packaging

Bottled CO2 is also instrumental for controlled atmosphere packaging, where oxygen is displaced from food or pharmaceutical product packaging using the gas. This helps items last longer by inhibiting microbial growth and oxidation processes. Controlled atmosphere packaging with CO2 allows products to stay fresh during transport and storage, reducing spoilage as well as the immense waste when foods go bad before use.

Cleaning Electronics

Pressurized CO2 in both liquid and solid (dry ice) forms is a highly effective cleaning agent for delicate electronics like circuit boards and semiconductors. CO2 pellets and snow remove surface contaminants without conducting electricity or leaving residue. This makes CO2 an ideal green alternative to harsh liquid solvents for precision electronics cleaning.

Dry Ice Blasting  

In dry ice blasting, bottled CO2 is used to propel pellets at high speeds for surface cleaning and paint or coating removal. On impact, the dry ice sublimates, lifting off oils, grime and coatings without any post-cleaning secondary waste. Dry ice CO2 blasting is a dramatic improvement over sand blasting, chemical stripping, or steam cleaning in terms of environmental impact.

Greener Benefits of Using Bottled CO2

When applied appropriately, bottled CO2 can drastically reduce the environmental impacts of production across manufacturing sectors. Some key sustainability benefits include:

Minimizing Harmful Inputs

Many common industrial cleaning agents and solvents pose significant hazards to worker health and the environment. Harsh chemicals like hydrofluoric, nitric, and sulfuric acids are highly corrosive, requiring extensive safety equipment and handling precautions. The risk of accidental spills or uncontrolled fume release can be severe. Furthermore, most chemical cleaners leave behind toxic residuals that must be neutralized or safely disposed of after use. This creates large amounts of hazardous secondary waste.

CO2 provides a much safer alternative cleaning agent. Both liquid and solid (dry ice) CO2 can be used for controlled, residue-free cleaning. For example, pressurized liquid CO2 sprayed onto surfaces dissolves and carries away oils and grime without the use of any added cleaning chemicals. The CO2 then evaporates, leaving behind no toxic residuals.

Boosting Efficiency

Many manufacturing processes require significant equipment cooling to maintain proper operating temperatures. Chiller systems traditionally use fluorinated gases as refrigerants, but these can leak into the atmosphere and contribute substantially to global warming.

An alternative approach is pumped CO2 refrigerant cooling. Bottled CO2 can provide cooling via rapid expansion and compression in a nearly closed-loop system, with minimal global warming impact if leaked. CO2 chiller systems also avoid issues like compressor overheating that reduce efficiency with other refrigerants. The improved heat transfer properties of CO2 allow industrial cooling at lower energy expenditures.

Limiting Emissions

Since CO2 is often recovered, reused and recaptured in manufacturing systems, emissions related to industrial gas production can be avoided. With the right systems and infrastructure in place, manufacturers can greatly reduce newly-produced industrial gas emissions by recovering and reusing CO2 already circulating in processes.

Byproduct CO2 from ethanol production, hydrogen plants, and power generation can be purified into liquid form rather than released into the air. This recycled CO2 can then displace new industrial gas generation. Installation of flue-gas and biofuel CO2 capture systems also promotes CO2 reuse.

Helping Manufacturers Forge Forward with nexAir Bottled Carbon Dioxide Products

The expanding uses and advantages of bottled CO2 make it a promising tool for enabling greener, more sustainable manufacturing across sectors. With proper safety protocols and equipment in place, nexAir’s bottled CO2 products can significantly benefit environmental initiatives in industry.

nexAir offers a wide range of bottled CO2 options to suit any manufacturing application. By utilizing nexAir’s food grade, medical grade, or industrial grade CO2 containers, manufacturers can integrate sustainable CO2 practices.

nexAir has over 80 years of expertise in bottled gas supply and handling. Our CO2 containers are engineered specifically for safety, ease of use, and efficient gas delivery in manufacturing environments. With nexAir’s help, the switch to bottled CO2 can be as seamless as possible.

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