The final guest from Session 2 of gasworld’s virtual ‘Europe CO2 Summit 2022’ event was Gary Robson - Head of Sales for Beverages at Unisensor and also Managing Director of Sure Purity.

He began by explaining disadvantages of traditional CO2 sources, saying, “They’re heavily dependent on the primary product and also rely on fossil fuels.” 

New CO2 sources include biogas upgrading (AD), direct air capture (DAC), and carbon capture. 

Elaborating on the increased urgency to use the new sources, Robson explained, “Climate change and greenhouse gas reduction goals, carbon credits and waste-to-energy/circular economy demands have increased this sense of urgency.” 

New sources can also mitigate outages and supply chain disruption seen with traditional sources, as well as reducing the complexity present across the supply chain as a whole. 

What are the challenges for new sources? 

Stating that it’s still an early stage for the technology, he said, “Everybody is in this VHS/Betamax stage right now. There’s limited capacity and output.” 

“This has been mentioned a few times as well. One of the challenges that we’re seeing right now is that we’re in the middle of long lead times for capital equipment, this is restricting the speed of growth and the speed of adoption for these new sources.” 

Certain considerations must be made to succeed with new sources, including an understanding of the required of the intended use by the end user. 

“I cannot stress this enough, this is where I see initial failings and part of the reason for why the mass adoption of new green sources of CO2 are slow to get started.”

“Once we can share and accept data, I believe the acceptance to the new sources of CO2 would be more widespread,” explained Robson. 

Pressure points for the future 

Several key pressure points could affect the supply of CO2 for industries such as the beverage industry, including spiralling fossil fuel costs, availability of CO2 supply from traditional shortages, and the Russia-Ukraine situation. 

“Brexit, transport issues and congestion are also huge potential issues at the moment,” Robson added. 

“A knowledge gap is also present: quality, quality, quality. Quality in the process of manufacturing, quality of the product and quality of the people. This is a pressure point that we’re seeing today.” 

Core offender for CO2 purity 

Source-specific impurities such as sulphur compounds – common in biogenic sources of CO2 – cause major upsets according to Robson. 

“They’re hard to purge out of the system and cause the biggest pain point for the users of CO2. These are all watch points that we’ve got to be aware of specifically when we’re moving into a greater adoption of a more mass widespread use of these new technologies,” he said.