Hard choices: CO2 and nitrogen in food and beverage


The recent challenges over CO2 production and distribution have disproportionately impacted food and beverage markets, since this sector is the biggest single user of carbon dioxide – for freezing and refrigeration, for cleaning, as a preservative, and for carbonation of a variety of drinks.

The ongoing crisis has prompted speculation about alternatives to CO2, such as liquid nitrogen (LIN) for in-transit refrigeration, as a preservative (it is widely used in this context already), and for certain soft drinks and beers.

At gasworld’s recent CO2 Summit in Chicago, Sam Rushing, President of Advanced Cryogenics, presented on the use of CO2 and LIN in the food industry – but with timing tight some aspects of the challenge weren’t fully explored. 

We caught up with Rushing to address some questions the session raised – issues like the practical and economic considerations faced by food producers in certain parts of the country, the question of whether alternative sources of CO2 might be acceptable to food producers, and – with the summer months behind us – whether the worst of the crisis is over and so some of the impetus for exploring nitrogen ha s waned.

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