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Old 12-06-2012, 02:37 AM   #1
Helper
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Default Industrial vs. Medical Grade CO2

Hello,

So I am currently in a cell culture class and a big thing for our CO2 incubators is the use of medical grade CO2 versus Industrial Grade CO2. Well I, as well as many of us, have used either a local welding shop or fire extinguisher shop to fill our CO2 tanks for our brews. Though I do not think these shops intend to mean us harm, is industrial grade CO2 really the best choice to fill our tanks for our taps?

To further expand on my experience in cell culture, you simply cannot use industrial grade CO2 because of the impurities in it which result in production regulations. These impurities hinder or kill cells (these cultured cells are often mimics of humans cell, epithelial, endothelial, respiratory etc.).

In total, is there anyone who knows whether or not there are direct health effects resulting from the use of industrial grade CO2 versus medical grade? For example, does anyone know what 'big' breweries use to carbonate their brews?

Though everyone may be worried about their health, the medical grade CO2 I use in lab it approximately 100X more expensive than industrial grade CO2.

Thanks everyone in advance for your input.

Sincerely,
Helper

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Old 12-06-2012, 03:05 AM   #2
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The stuff we get at the local welder is the same stuff coke uses for soda fountains.

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Old 12-06-2012, 03:15 AM   #3
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The last time I bought CO2 in Oregon, the guy said that the price had gone up because it's all food grade now. It was at an industrial place.

I'm not sure about other states regulations. I'm in Washington and the place I get CO2 here is a lot more expensive than the place in Oregon. I don't know if it's also food grade or not but I get it at a welding supply place.

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Old 12-06-2012, 04:45 AM   #4
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While brewing for a large pacific northwest brewery, we bought all of our gas (O2, N2, and CO2) from a welding supply co. All was marked as industrial.

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Old 12-06-2012, 05:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerbeer95648 View Post
While brewing for a large pacific northwest brewery, we bought all of our gas (O2, N2, and CO2) from a welding supply co. All was marked as industrial.
Rainier I hope?? Not olympia.....
I suppose Henry's is another option.
Unless you are old enough to have worked for Lucky brewery.

I would think any "large" brewery would just have tanker trucks or train cars of CO2 delivered?
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:37 PM   #6
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Several years ago I had a problem with off tastes in all of my kegs and it was eventually traced back to my CO2 supply, which came from a welding supply house. I don't own the tank, so they are exchanged each time. I've switched to a beverage supply place as a source and had no further problems with everything else (environment, sanitation, plumbing, etc.) being the same.

The same welding supply house did tell me that their medical grade oxygen and welding oxygen DO use the same filling equipment but the tanks in the exchange system are kept separate and, of course, the paper trail is much greater and more costly for the medical side of things.

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Old 12-06-2012, 03:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45_70sharps View Post
Rainier I hope?? Not olympia.....
I suppose Henry's is another option.
Unless you are old enough to have worked for Lucky brewery.

I would think any "large" brewery would just have tanker trucks or train cars of CO2 delivered?
That was supposed to say "larger" (225,000 bbl/yr). Most larger breweries have their CO2 delivered in to bulk storage. But a few breweries I have brewed for used their bulk C02 for post causticated CIP purges of the brite tanks and the like. And they used cylinder gases for topping up C02 levels in the conditioning beer.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helper View Post
Hello,

So I am currently in a cell culture class and a big thing for our CO2 incubators is the use of medical grade CO2 versus Industrial Grade CO2. Well I, as well as many of us, have used either a local welding shop or fire extinguisher shop to fill our CO2 tanks for our brews. Though I do not think these shops intend to mean us harm, is industrial grade CO2 really the best choice to fill our tanks for our taps?
Yes.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:33 PM   #9
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I don't have much experience with CO2 yet, and have only been brewing for a little over a year, but I have a ton of experience with Medical vs. Industrial Oxygen, as I've done a lot of deep diving, and have been mixing my own breathing gases for over 15 years. Breathing the wrong gases at depth can kill you, so I kinda know what I'm talking about.


There's no difference between Medical and Industrial O2, as far as the gas is concerned. I know that there are definitions, and industry standards that state exactly what each gas is, and how much/many impurities can be included in each level. But in the real world, the source O2 comes from the same tanks. However, there is a big difference in how the gases are decanted, dealt with, and sold. The main difference between medical and all others, is that for medical grade, the gas supplier is supposed to empty the cylinder that has been designated as medical grade, completely, before filling it back up. by keeping the tanks ID'd for medical, it's not supposed to be sent out to a welder, where gases can possibly be mixed.

All the O2 filling all the tanks comes from the same source tank, but different procedures are used in the refilling, and by the end users. I'm guessing the same is true for CO2.


If you /use CO2 that's from a beverage Co, then it's highly unlikely that it will be contaminated with other gases (except perhaps Nitrogen, for the stout taps). So it make sense that this could have helped eliminate off flavors in a beer.

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