Carbon dioxide shortage threatens beer production


Amid COVID-19 outbreak, production at ethanol plants declines

In the midst of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic, the production of ethanol factories is declining, so the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) they capture as a by-product and resell also decreases.

Ethanol plants have either cut or stopped making ethanol and its by-products as fewer people drive to work or travel, reducing the need for fuel. Food and beverage manufacturers who depend on CO2 for carbonation face the repercussions, according to Forbes. The carbon dioxide shortage affects beer, soda, seltzer, and other businesses.

Reuters reported that ethanol production has declined in the United States, with 34 out of 45 factories affected by the current changes. Beer brewers now pay 25% more for carbon dioxide, for example.

A coalition comprising: the Compressed Gas Association, the National Pork Producers Council, the Beer Institute, the Brewers Association, the National Turkey Federation, the North American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Renewable Fuels Association, wrote a letter to the Vice President Mike Pence.

“Representing thousands of American workers in the 50 states that keep our nation’s food supply reliable, we write to express our deep concern that the current coronavirus pandemic is creating a significant risk of carbon dioxide shortage that would have a significant impact on access to essential food and beverage supplies and other critical sectors of the US economy, ”the coalition wrote.

The letter points out that carbon dioxide production has declined by 20% in the United States and could continue to drop to 50% without interventions.

The Ames water treatment plant in Iowa, which uses carbon dioxide to soften hard water filled with minerals, is at risk, according to Ames water director John Dunn. Air Products, which supplies CO2 to Ames and Des Moines Water Works, informed the plant in late March that the carbon dioxide supply was in danger.

To avoid a shortage, Lincolnway Energy’s Nevada ethanol plant reopened to supply carbon dioxide to Ames.

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