It’s not uncommon for atmospheric gas availability to fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, such as global trade and access to resources. However, the extreme CO2 shortages in recent years, have significantly and negatively impacted several industries. Unfortunately, these shortages are predicted to continue through 2023.
Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is a colorless, odorless gas that naturally occurs in the earth’s atmosphere. Perhaps one of carbon dioxide’s best-known uses is as a carbonation method for soft drinks, seltzer water, and beer. Carbonation is not its only purpose, as CO2 also maintains a fresh taste and color throughout production, transfer, storage, and bottling.
In its solid form, carbon dioxide is manufactured into small pellets for dry ice blasting, miraculously blowing away soot, smoke, paint, and excess buildup from coffee roasting machines and commercial kitchen appliances.
As it is a dense inert gas, when combined with argon, it’s used as a shielding gas in the welding process. Uses for carbon dioxide also include controlling pH levels in paper manufacturing or wastewater treatment and increasing yields in cultivation through the acceleration of natural cycles of photosynthesis.
Since uses for the gas are diverse, CO2 shortages can affect numerous industries, such as the beer and beverage industry, food and medical supply shipping, greenhouse growers, chemistry labs, medical and industrial supplies producers, and many more. Recent shortages were related to the pandemic and contamination at one of the country’s largest CO2 producers in Jackson Dome, MS.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a chain reaction. Six months into 2020, fewer planes were taking off, factories idled production, industry workers were furloughed, and working Americans cut their commute altogether as they worked from home. According to the Wall Street Journal, jet fuel demand fell by 70 percent and gasoline demand by half. This halted the oil and gas industry, which includes the drilling of crude oil, the refining of petroleum, and the production of ethanol. In turn, this affected the production of carbon dioxide, a byproduct of ethanol. At the time, 34 out of the 45 US ethanol plants that sell CO2 as a byproduct paused operations.
Jackson Dome, MS Contamination
An extinct volcano’s underground reservoir in Mississippi has supplied CO2 for decades. Called the Jackson Dome, the volcano sits about 2,900 feet below the city of Jackson – specifically beneath the Mississippi Coliseum. It holds a large reservoir of CO2 that is tapped, stored, and delivered to industries across the country. Natural contamination from a mine, gas leak into the volcano’s supply caused the contamination, which meant the carbon dioxide could not be used for food or drink products. This event exacerbated an ongoing CO2 shortage.
Rocky Mountain Air Solutions is a distributor of Carbon Dioxide in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska. Our CO2 distribution capabilities remain the same, but prices on the market fluctuate day by day. For the short term, our customers may not be affected by the shortage, but as it continues, know that we are always prepared to serve our partners with flawless dependability.
While any natural gas shortage is difficult, Rocky Mountain Air will do everything possible to ensure that you have your gas when you need it. Rocky Mountain Air is committed to serving our customers and providing innovative solutions. While we can serve outside of our customer base and outside of our region, we prioritize our ongoing partnerships. When a shortage strikes, it is always a good idea to be prepared by signing a contract with an atmospheric gas distributor who will assist you in moving your business forward. For questions regarding carbon dioxide costs, cryogenic usage needs, or if you’d like to partner with Rocky Mountain Air Solutions as your CO2 supplier, please contact your local branch today. We look forward to serving you!