CO2 Shortage & Capture

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GoodTruble

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I saw this surprising report that some craft breweries may have to cut production because of an increasing shortage of CO2.


I'm a minimally competent homebrewer and have no real understanding of the complexities of large scale brewing. But it seems crazy that commercial breweries could run out of CO2.

Beyond just naturally carbing the beer, is there not a way to capture the CO2 from brewing to then re-use it as needed (on the commercial or home brew level)?

I used to capture the CO2 in inflatable bags to use for cold crashing and transfers. I wonder if there is a way to do something similar that is more efficient.
 

DuncB

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I think there are ways for commercial breweries to capture and recycle the CO2.
Expensive equipment I expect hence smaller breweries might not be able to afford it.

I expect that the machinery basically captures the CO2 dries and filters it before a compressor gets it in a tank.

Was reading the other day that a lot of CO2 is made by chemical companies from Natural gas which in Europe is being cut by Putin.
 

McMullan

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Reads like a scam, to me. The energy consumed running this 'proven technology' makes it highly unlikely end users will be reducing CO2 emissions. I have proven tech myself. A pressure rated FV, a spare keg or two and some imagination.

Much of the CO2 used for beverages in Europe comes from ammonia fertiliser production, iirc. Russia is a key exporter of fertiliser ingredients. Since Putin's blocked export of these ingredients to Europe I'd expect at least indirect impacts on fertiliser production therefore CO2 production. Shortages.
 
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GoodTruble

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Well, at least it's interesting to read that some company is allowing the option to implement a CO2 capture system on a commercial level.
 

McMullan

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Again, a spare keg and a suitable FV is the best option for home brewers. The idea CO2 capture is a viable business model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (as claimed by that firm's marketing speil) to any meaningful level is pure fantasy pretending to break fundamental laws of physics whilst being in denial about the Earthly scale of the problem. To get back on track, and with the likelihood of CO2 shortages, it might be a good time for those who haven't to invest in a keg as a pressure rated FV 😉
 
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Red over White

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I keg with a couple points left and the keg is self serving for while (the taps are the same height as the tops of the kegs which helps). Brews that are lagering in the same keezer are kegged with a few points left and with a gas to gas jumper I eventually use those to push other beers to the taps until they reach the right co2 volume. I rarely need bottle gas and 100% pure co2 is what most of my brews ever see from cradle to the grave. I'm sure we all have some cellaring and serving tricks that might come in handy going forward.
 

Closet Fermenter

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I have completed my setup to purge my receiving keg using fermentation CO₂. With my next batch, I plan to put priming sugar in the receiving keg prior to the purge. This should reduce my dependence on bottle CO₂ quite a bit.
I like the idea of using a jumper between kegs and may try using a carbonating keg to dispense a finished one when it slows. I am guessing that I should probably use a spunding valve on the carbonating keg to maintain the proper pressure there, while only harvesting any excess gas.
What do you think about overpriming the fresh keg a bit, using a spunding valve to maintain the proper pressure for the target volume of carbonation, using an empty (pre-purged) keg as a gas storage vessel, and a 2nd spunding valve to regulate beer dispensing pressure on finished kegs?
 
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GoodTruble

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I had already been looking for ways to reduce CO2 tank usage because closed transfers were using up a lot of my tank.

I do CO2 purged kegs using the fermenter, but...... I wonder if I could purge keg with same pressure as fermenter, add 2 psi to the keg from CO2 tank, and then attach the keg to the fementer and trigger a closed loop gravity transfer/siphon by using the extra PSI in the keg to trigger the initial siphon and then the CO2 from the keg will backfill the fermenter as gravity/siphon continues to pull beer to fill keg........
 

DuncB

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@GoodTruble
We did a lot of discussion and had some physics input from @doug293cz in this thread.

There is no doubt you can purge kegs, run closed transfers run your kegerator if you have a large enough vessel to store high pressure CO2 generated from fermentation (Note a special dedicated CO2 ferment best for this).
Probably force carbonate as well.
 

DuncB

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From an article last time CO2 shortfall( summer 2018) Europe and world cup football contributed.

"Carlsberg UK has also not faced these issues because of its own CO2 Recovery System within its Northampton Brewery. This allows it to be self-sufficient in supporting its own brewing commitments within the UK. Similarly, AB InBev is largely self-sufficient in CO2 after investing in its recovery and recycling capabilities at its two UK production sites."
 

mashpaddled

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A lot of breweries use spunding valves to carb their beers in the tank using the same technology as spunding valves for homebrewers. That carbs the beer but breweries still use CO2 to move beer and push kegs/tanks on tap. Many of the larger breweries have CO2 capture systems that collect all the CO2 from fermentation but those systems are incredibly expensive. They have to draw off the CO2 without pressurizing the tanks which involves a lot more technology than a pressure release valve hooked up to the exhaust port on a tank. Most breweries do not have the space or money for that equipment.
 
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Reads like a scam, to me. The energy consumed running this 'proven technology' makes it highly unlikely end users will be reducing CO2 emissions. I have proven tech myself. A pressure rated FV, a spare keg or two and some imagination.

Much of the CO2 used for beverages in Europe comes from ammonia fertiliser production, iirc. Russia is a key exporter of fertiliser ingredients. Since Putin's blocked export of these ingredients to Europe I'd expect at least indirect impacts on fertiliser production therefore CO2 production. Shortages.
Several of the companies that use this technology also use solar panels to offset their energy use, among other resource-saving measures. Check on the systems put in place by Maui Brewing and Alaskan. They set up their systems initially because of their locations and the complications with getting materials. Now they are the example for how to make a brewery that has minimal environmental impact. It's pretty impressive. I looked at a CO2 reclamation system for our brewpub business plan and the smallest one I found was about $100k. Not cheap, but probably worth it in the long run.
 

McMullan

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Several of the companies that use this technology also use solar panels to offset their energy use, among other resource-saving measures. Check on the systems put in place by Maui Brewing and Alaskan. They set up their systems initially because of their locations and the complications with getting materials. Now they are the example for how to make a brewery that has minimal environmental impact. It's pretty impressive. I looked at a CO2 reclamation system for our brewpub business plan and the smallest one I found was about $100k. Not cheap, but probably worth it in the long run.
Great, but it won't tackle manmade climate change, as implied by the marketing/PR. It's not even a drop in the ocean, in that respect. To promote it otherwise is complete marketing nonsense. I'm sure it's useful tech for some businesses, but brewing beer (below macro) isn't really the problem. Burning fossil fuels is. Brewing is very much part of the natural carbon cycle. We shouldn't feel guilty or apologise for fossil fuel interests at all.
 

Red over White

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I had already been looking for ways to reduce CO2 tank usage because closed transfers were using up a lot of my tank.

I do CO2 purged kegs using the fermenter, but...... I wonder if I could purge keg with same pressure as fermenter, add 2 psi to the keg from CO2 tank, and then attach the keg to the fementer and trigger a closed loop gravity transfer/siphon by using the extra PSI in the keg to trigger the initial siphon and then the CO2 from the keg will backfill the fermenter as gravity/siphon continues to pull beer to fill keg........

Using the 100% fermenter co2 to push sanitizer from the receiving keg after you are down 5 points will give you a great starting point keg. Using gravity for closed loop xfer is ideal (I elevate my fermenters at least 8 hours beforehand). Your choice in xfer jumpers is key, use line diameter and length for the liquid side exactly like for serving helps yuge time for not breaking out co2 that will stop the xfer before you finish. In order to not raft any yeast or trub off the bottom for the clearest beer with a gravity closed loop xfer use the same spunding valve to set the receiving keg 1 psi below the fermenter. Attach the liquid jumper first, then after 15 seconds connect the gas jumper and Bob's your uncle. The above procedure will give you the clearest beer in the keg without stirring up the fermenter whether you do it at 10 psi or 28 psi. Cheers
 

Jim R

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It is amazing how much CO2 is released during fermentation (just begging to be used). I do pressure fermentations with my Fermzilla All Rounder and attach my spunding valve usually set to about 12 psi. I attach my 5 gal keg filled with sanitizer the next morning when fermentation is pretty active and the fermzilla has reached the 12 psi. It then amazingly only takes about 30 min or so to completely push out the sanitizer and fill the keg with CO2. I bet I could fill 20-40 kegs per day during active fermentation. I wish I had a system to save the CO2.
 
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GoodTruble

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I usually wait 24 hours to attach to kegs, but have still used one all-rounder (about 6 gallons) to purge three kegs. My problem is that I don't like the small amount of sanitizer left in the keg, so I still pop the lid and quickly hold up side down to drain that 1-2 days after the keg is purged. If I pressure fill the kegs, I won't have that option.

And @McMullan - Yes, CO2 capture from brewing is less than a drop in the bucket for climate change overall. But (1) if the cost of CO2 is becoming a problem for breweries, capturing the CO2 they produce themselves is a potential solution & (2) "everyone doing their part" may be a worthwhile approach even if "not everyone" goes along.

For what it's worth, I think climate change denial is quickly becoming a thing of the past. It's too late to avoid front-end brunt of climate change, but the world will make the necessary transition over the next 100 years to limit climate change getting worse for the next 100 years.
 

Red over White

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It is amazing how much CO2 is released during fermentation (just begging to be used). I do pressure fermentations with my Fermzilla All Rounder and attach my spunding valve usually set to about 12 psi. I attach my 5 gal keg filled with sanitizer the next morning when fermentation is pretty active and the fermzilla has reached the 12 psi. It then amazingly only takes about 30 min or so to completely push out the sanitizer and fill the keg with CO2. I bet I could fill 20-40 kegs per day during active fermentation. I wish I had a system to save the CO2.
If you wanted to use a spare keg with an old school pin lock lid with a built in 135 psi prv you can generate your own 100% pure co2. Table sugar, water, champagne yeast and a regulator on the gas out will give you plenty of options.

We have the technology!
 

DuncB

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Using the 100% fermenter co2 to push sanitizer from the receiving keg after you are down 5 points will give you a great starting point keg. Using gravity for closed loop xfer is ideal (I elevate my fermenters at least 8 hours beforehand). Your choice in xfer jumpers is key, use line diameter and length for the liquid side exactly like for serving helps yuge time for not breaking out co2 that will stop the xfer before you finish. In order to not raft any yeast or trub off the bottom for the clearest beer with a gravity closed loop xfer use the same spunding valve to set the receiving keg 1 psi below the fermenter. Attach the liquid jumper first, then after 15 seconds connect the gas jumper and Bob's your uncle. The above procedure will give you the clearest beer in the keg without stirring up the fermenter whether you do it at 10 psi or 28 psi. Cheers
You can just put gas to gas once the siphon has started and it will keep going if you have the height difference that you mention.
Then at end of transfer the ferment keg gas can be used to flush out next starsan or at least start it.
No need to spund the receiving keg.

As per this video
 

DuncB

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If you wanted to use a spare keg with an old school pin lock lid with a built in 135 psi prv you can generate your own 100% pure co2. Table sugar, water, champagne yeast and a regulator on the gas out will give you plenty of options.

We have the technology!
I'd add some yeast nutrient as well and you can use turbo yeast just a spoonful from the packet. As per the comments in thread linked above and here again.
 

DuncB

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@GoodTruble

Once purged of starsan and filled with CO2 I just invert the keg and then pull the PRV and the small bit of residual sanitiser gets blown out. No need to pop the lid.
Another alternative is to sanitise keg, empty it out, then fill with sod met solution and purge that out.
Any residual in the keg will scrub any remaining oxygen ( which we agree is minute amount).
 
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GoodTruble

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@DuncB - Doesn't the reverse side the PRV valve sit up a quarter-half inch? On my kegs it does, so if I invert and pull the PRV, there is still a small amount if liquid that pools on the reverse side of the lid, below the raised edge of the PRV tab.
 

bracconiere

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@DuncB - Doesn't the reverse side the PRV valve sit up a quarter-half inch? On my kegs it does, so if I invert and pull the PRV, there is still a small amount if liquid that pools on the reverse side of the lid, below the raised edge of the PRV tab.


my corney lids are all flush on the inside....
 

TkmLinus

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I'm surprised that no one is mentioning the fact that the guy says flat beer is "something more akin to what you find in Europe". Sounds like someone that has never been to Europe. Forgive me if I'm wrong but isn't cask drawn primarily an English style? Seems wrong to characterize the beer of an entire continent that includes Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
 

McMullan

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Last time I looked England was in Europe. Nor is cask ale, served through a beer engine, restricted to England. It's not unusual to find it served elsewhere in the British Empire Anglosphere. Nor is it flat, btw. It's supposed to be above CO2 saturation levels. It's just not fizzy. With so much subtle flavour complexity going on it would be a negative thing to cover it up with higher levels of carbonation that are more suited to less complex beers, like lagers.
 

TkmLinus

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Last time I looked England was in Europe. Nor is cask ale, served through a beer engine, restricted to England. It's not unusual to find it served elsewhere in the British Empire Anglosphere. Nor is it flat, btw. It's supposed to be above CO2 saturation levels. It's just not fizzy. With so much subtle flavour complexity going on it would be a negative thing to cover it up with higher levels of carbonation that are more suited to less complex beers, like lagers.
Are there any "flat beer" styles that are served in Europe? I have drank lots of different styles and lots of different beers in Europe and have never come across a flat style(including cask). I mentioned cask ale since I believe that is the only beer that the guy could possibly be mentioning since it is not pressured with bottled co2. By the way, I am just critiquing what the guy in the interview said. Watch the video in the first post from 1:32-1:42 to see what I mean.
 

Spartan1979

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Are there any "flat beer" styles that are served in Europe? I have drank lots of different styles and lots of different beers in Europe and have never come across a flat style(including cask). I mentioned cask ale since I believe that is the only beer that the guy could possibly be mentioning since it is not pressured with bottled co2. By the way, I am just critiquing what the guy in the interview said. Watch the video in the first post from 1:32-1:42 to see what I mean.

I've had some Cantillon that was intentionally still. That's the only ones I can think of.
 

DuncB

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I'd suggest a post to the person in the video if you are particularly irritated by their quote to discuss with them.
Scrumpy can certainly be flat or without condition but its not brewed just fermented.
 

renstyle

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It is amazing how much CO2 is released during fermentation (just begging to be used). I do pressure fermentations with my Fermzilla All Rounder and attach my spunding valve usually set to about 12 psi. I attach my 5 gal keg filled with sanitizer the next morning when fermentation is pretty active and the fermzilla has reached the 12 psi. It then amazingly only takes about 30 min or so to completely push out the sanitizer and fill the keg with CO2. I bet I could fill 20-40 kegs per day during active fermentation. I wish I had a system to save the CO2.

Another thread here (again with @doug293cz supplying good math/science) gave a rough calculation of roughly 400 to 440L of CO2 generated by a single mid-gravity 5 gal batch.

The gist of the calculations were to determine if you could fully purge an empty serving keg, containing regular air only, with CO2 ferm gas such that the ppb of O2 left in the keg was so low that you were OK with it.

It was determined that this was a viable route to purging your serving keg.

So yes, if you were sanitizer-purging kegs you could very well have dozens of purged kegs!
 

renstyle

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If you wanted to use a spare keg with an old school pin lock lid with a built in 135 psi prv you can generate your own 100% pure co2. Table sugar, water, champagne yeast and a regulator on the gas out will give you plenty of options.

We have the technology!

I'm curious as to the ongoing costs to make this type of scheme viable.

With economies of scale in the industrial market, a 10lb tank of CO2 for exchange here in central Iowa is around $29. This is at the beverage CO2 supplier, could be different if utilizing a welding gas supplier like Praxxair, etc.

I fully realize I'm leaning on the industry at large, as well as the fossil fuel segment to generate all this gas for my tanks, which makes it difficult to take those "savings" into account vs making your own CO2.

Watching a friend make mead for the last 2 years with the absolute cheapest champagne yeast (got a 10pk of 11.5g sachets for $4.00) it never occurred to me to use this method for generating CO2 for my own brews until now.

Now the quandry I have is whether to attempt to make a drinkable brew while trying to harvest all this CO2 gas, or just dedicate a tank to a sugar wash + DAP/nutrients?

First world problems I know, right?
 

DuncB

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@renstyle
That thread you mention has a very comprehensive treatise by @doug293cz on purging.
You forgot to insert the link though.
This is it
 

shetc

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The shortage is temporary due to contamination/mechanical issues at some plants.
 

DuncB

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@renstyle
Very odd the link is in the email I received but not in your post.
My recent 5kg refill cost 65 us dollars equivalent so a tad more expensive down here to refill in New Zealand.
 
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