Cold comfort


USP grade carbon dioxide is carving a growing niche as biomedical applications march forward, Sam A. Rushing explains.

Carbon dioxide is a liquefied gas refined, and sourced from a handful of chemical, energy, and natural sources. The sources are primarily from fermentation by-product in industrial ethanol production, a by-product of anhydrous ammonia production, and reformer off-gas in refineries. CO2 is also sourced from naturally occurring geologic domes. A few other source types exist, such as flue gas from cogeneration, titanium dioxide and ethylene oxide production.

Of the total merchant market usage, about 70 percent is dedicated to food and beverage production, followed by an industrial sector, including natural gas well fracturing, pH reduction, uranium leaching, insect control, dry ice production, and many more applications. Finally we consider US Pharmacopeia (USP) grade CO2, a small, volume-driven business, catering to the medical trade specifically. This represents less than two percent of the overall US CO2 business.

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