Dry ice operations have pivoted from traditional market channels to a mission critical industry, Patty Clarkson, Analox Americas President told gasworld’s latest Capturing Carbon Trends webinar, sponsors by Cold Jet.

Describing the last 12 months of a journey, Clarkson told gasworldTV that this isn’t the first time the industrial gas industry has pivoted the way it operates, and it certainly won’t be the last.

“I think we can all agree the last 12 months have certainty been a journey. A journey that begun with industrial dry ice operations making a key pivot from their traditional market channels, to a mission critical industry to fulfil a vital role in vaccine transportation and storage,” she said.

A provider of carbon dioxide (CO2) safety monitors, Analox has worked shoulder to shoulder with professionals in the industrial gas industry, particularly in CO2, from capture to purification to distribution in liquid and solid dry ice form.

Commenting on the new use of dry ice for vaccines, Clarkson, said, “The nightly news has been covering the various extreme storage temperatures of the available vaccines and the logistical challenges of transport and storage.”

“The new challenge was to take the abilities and capacity dry ice providers had already perfected for standard usage and blow it up into a worldwide logistical feat not seen in scale nor scope since World War Two.”

“At Analox, we knew this meant dry ice was going to be transported, stored and handled by more people than ever before. This also meant it was going to be handled by people less familiar with its hazards, particularly in confined spaces.”

“We needed to protect people in places that traditionally hadn’t been our primary markets. We set a plan into action to reach out and support the industrial gas providers, as well as establish new sales channels into sectors of professionals who needed to be protected.”

Supercritical CO2

Next up was Scott MacAdam, PhD, Engineering, Energy Supply & Conversion at GTI Institute. With over 20 years of R&D and technical leadership experience in the energy sector, MacAdam has held roles at Conoco Phillips and Air Liquide.

Defining supercritical CO2 (SCO2), MacAdam, told gasworld TV, “Like a wide range of different fluids, SCO2 can occur in a state where it’s very difficult to distinguish between its liquid and vapor phase. If you were to place some SCO2 into a vessel, it would expand to fill the vessel just like a gas, but it does have a density of a liquid.”

Speaking about SCO2’s uses in the energy sector, he added, “It’s an emergent area, it’s a very, very exciting area right now and lots of developments are taking place. GTI is extremely excited to be part of that.”

With the audience, MacAdam also shared details of GTI’s SCO2 project. “The project is a project largely funded by the US Department of Energy,” he said. “It’s over $100m dollar project lasting six or seven years. G.T.I is the lead on the project.” 

“We’re working closely with our partners, Southwest Research Institute, located in San Antonio, Texas, where the project is located, as well as with General Electric providing turbo machinery.”

The project is aiming for completion and in September 2022 and will be among the largest demonstration facilities for sCO2 technology in the world. 

Decarbonisation: The double-edged sword

gasworld TV’s webinar finished with discission surrounding deep decarbonisation, what it means for the industrial gases industry and what could it mean for the CO2 business, Stephen Harrison, Managing Director of sbh4 shared insight.

“Within our industry, there is a growing momentum to pivot and set a new direction. And if we dig deep into our reserves of ambition and creativity, we will surely find the means to decarbonise. Making the changes will require bandwidth, focus and capital. And I am optimistic the investment will pay back,” Harrison said.

“Many equity investors have rejected fossil-fuel energy stocks and placed their bets on the green economy. Highly influential people in finance, such as Blackrock’s Larry Fink are urging the corporate world to declare and execute their plans towards carbon neutrality.”

“The billions of Euro that governments are pouring into the hydrogen economy will be powerful. Those billions will be a wonderful catalyst, but they are a drop in the ocean compared to the trillions of dollars of influence that stock market investors and financiers have in driving the decarbonisation agenda.”

“I am convinced that the changes that the industrial gases sector needs to make can be equally good for the planet, people, profits and stock prices. I believe they can all thrive together.”

“The lifesaving role that the industrial gases sector has played bringing medical oxygen to Covid-19 patients was undoubtedly our major achievement of 2020 and it will continue to require our attention in 2021,” he told viewers.

“In parallel to this short-term life-saving activity, the industrial gases sector can also play a leading role in the longer-term goal of containing climate change within the 1.5°C target.”

“Rising to this challenge fills me with a sense of purpose. I want to be part of the worldwide effort to make the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change a reality.”

“For the industrial gases sector, the consequences of The Paris Agreement reach far beyond the opportunity to apply our technology, products, and expertise to serve our customers. We must also get our own house in order. Industrial gases businesses must transform to become carbon-neutral and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We have the opportunity to serve and we also bear the responsibility to change,” he enthused.