Sunday, 1 July 2018
It's a gas (Pumping Back Cash)
carbon dioxide shortage which has affected the production of beer, fizzy drinks, fresh meat and even crumpets, might be coming to an end, with the news that one major producer of CO2, has re-started production of the gas, and another is about to shortly.
As the media has delighted in informing us, there have been shortages of CO2 over the past 10 days, amid longer than expected shutdowns at ammonia and ethanol plants, key producers of the gas, across Europe. To make the situation worse, three out of five key UK producers have also been shut down, hitting the country particularly hard.
Ensus, announced that their bio-ethanol fuel processing plant at Wilton, near Redcar reopened on Friday, and Billingham based CF Fertilisers, expect production at their plant to re-start on Monday. Both companies produce carbon dioxide as a by-product of their respective processes.
The shortages of CO2 have come at a time of high demand, prompted by the continuing hot weather and the football World Cup, leaving some businesses short of stock. Pubs and retailers are therefore keeping their fingers crossed for a return to normal by the end of next week.
There have been some restrictions in place, but the biggest impact of the shortage appears to have been in meat processing, with producers warning that some production lines had been suspended. This was because there was not sufficient CO2 available for packing. (The gas is used to help preserve fresh meat in sealed packs.)
On a personal level, I did notice on Friday evening that shelves in the beer aisle, of our local ASDA, had been stripped bare, but over the weekend, both Sainsbury's and Waitrose seemed well-stocked, beer-wise.
So like all these things, a storm in a tea cup, or should that be beer glass? It's also the start of the "silly season" as far as newspaper editors are concerned, so expect more along these lines.