Europe running out of carbon dioxide

26 June 2018 - Business update

The journal Gasworld has a scoop: Europe is running out of carbon dioxide gas (link) affecting the availability of carbonated drinks among other things. The production of carbon dioxide for human use is curiously linked to that of ammonia, the Haber-Bosch process requires hydrogen gas which is produced from a steam reform reaction of methane and water, with the generated carbon monoxide converted to carbon dioxide in a Water-gas shift reaction. Unfortunately for Europe, a) traditionally demand for ammonia is at its lowest every April - June b) natural gas prices are up c) foreign competition is also up and hence e) a lot of producers decided to have a plant shutdown for extended maintenance. The shortage is also felt in other industries such as food processing in general and specifically meat processing (link). Frozen foods in supermarkets are also in jeopardy. No news yet of chemical laboratories running out of dry ice.