As the nation faces a potential shortage of carbon dioxide in the food and beverage processing and packaging industry, a feasible alternative is on everybody’s mind says Jasmine Gill marketing specialist at HWL.

“With the closure of Marsden Point Oil Refinery, and import costs skyrocketing, the options are dwindling down. We need a more flexible, efficient, and economic option. Supply issues have highlighted the risks of relying on external suppliers to consistently deliver gases, it also presents opportunities that exist to use other gases, like nitrogen, instead of CO2,” says Gill.

She says that not every aspect of CO2 usage can be replaced by alternate gases, but many processes utilising gas can be supplemented with nitrogen.

As nitrogen is odourless, colourless, and tasteless, its inert properties and natural abundance make it a popular and sustainable alternative. Processes such as nitrogenation, blanketing ingredients, clean-in-place (CIP) pipe-work and vessel purging – also the purging and filling process – can utilise nitrogen, thereby creating a safer, cleaner, and more sustainable manufacturing process.

“The best alternative would be pulling your own gas out of thin air. But this solution sounds too good to be true. Although we don’t have an answer for CO2, we do have the alternative: HWL Group and Parker Hannifin brings you the range of nitrogen and LabGas generators to inspire a new way of thinking about nitrogen – as a source of increased productivity, sustainability, and above all; profitability.”

Parker Hannifin ran a test using nitrogen gas generation in place of CO2 on various stages of beverage manufacturing within a medium-sized brewery. Four tests were completed; primary fermentation, dry hop removal, vessel pre-filling/purging, and secondary vessel filtering.

“All of which delivered successful results in product output quality, and uncompromised taste. The brewery in question now implements nitrogen as standard procedure for all of these processes, and more.”

The NitroSource Generator is described as “the latest and greatest” in industrial gas generation. With its space-saving design and energy saving technology, this on-site generator requires less compressed air to generate more nitrogen than other solutions.

From an eco-friendly viewpoint; replacing just a portion of your CO2 use with nitrogen, says Gill, can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. With the ease of use of an in-house nitrogen generator, you can reduce your dependency on CO2, therefore enhancing profitability, sustainability, and reducing your ongoing gas cost by 90%

“The Parker Hannifin test highlights a very important note on the Industry’s CO2 usage: If a business, such as a brewery, who is very reliant on CO2 for much of the beverage making process, can supplement nitrogen generation into different stages, what’s stopping other businesses from doing the same?

“HWL is your one-stop-shop solutions partner, and we offer the complete filtration and separation package including product, instillation, and servicing.”