Brad Dunn, Executive Vice-President of CK Supply, this morning told GAWDA Spring Management Conference (SMC) attendees that “allocations, surcharges and delivery delays may become more common in the carbon dioxide (CO2) market, and that opportunity is going to exceed supply.”

Across the US, CO2 has long remained a hot topic amidst various strains and shortages and, whilst it’s almost impossible to predict what is going to happen in the future, this morning’s sessions highlighted there are still uncertainties in the market.

Outlining demand in the US CO2 market right now, Dunn highlighted that the sector currently represents 11% of industrial gas revenues, according to Intelligas Consulting. As it stands, the food and beverage market is the largest consumer of CO2 and takes up 70% of the market demand, 30% being for other applications.

When it comes to the dominating players in the CO2 market, Dunn told attendees that Linde, Air Liquide and Messer are the top three producers. Speaking on supply and demand, he said, “There is as much capacity as there are people that are wanting CO2, but that’s if everything goes perfectly, which it doesn’t.”

“CO2 demand in the US is currently 10.3 million tonnes per year, which equals production,” Dunn continued. “However, US demand is projected to grow 2/.5% AGR during the next few years. That being said, to meet the five-year growth forecast, 1,600 tonnes per day of additional capacity is needed to be developed.”

Further highlighting the additional need for new capacity, Dunn said, “None of the historic uses of CO2 are going down, everything is just going up. Opportunity will succeed supply. These opportunities will include demands from micro-breweries, cannabis growers, meal distributors, stunning, food freezing and dry ice.”

Speaking on current, new and existing developments, Dunn told attendees, “There are some new plants coming on-stream and there are some really good developments. However, there are also some outages happening right now, so we’re in a bit of a challenging environment, but that is just my personal opinion.”

Of course, with demand across the country continuing to grow, Dunn highlighted the essentialness of transporting CO2 across the country – and CO2 can travel in approximately 200-mile radius successfully. However, he explained that this may soon increase.

Moving the focus onto dry ice, Dunn explained that approximately 150 dry ice manufacturers are selling into the US market, with 60% having emerged in the past ten years – representing great growth in the space.

“I think there’s a few reasons for that,” Dunn told attendees. “Lots of companies are now electing to make their own dry ice internally, and a lot of end-users are doing it because they want to control their own supply chain.”