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How Is Carbon Dioxide Stored And Used?


Carbon dioxide is a gas we know for a variety of reasons. Human beings breathe it out, plants absorb it to produce oxygen, and there is a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

However, carbon dioxide, properly stored in a pressurised tank with a vacuum relief valve, has a range of industrial uses as well, primarily in the food industry, where it is a major part of the supply chain for a range of different products.

Carbon dioxide is used to make dry ice, for example, which is useful not only for creating dramatic stage ambience but also the extreme cold temperatures from which it forms make it an ideal ingredient for transporting chilled food whilst it is being transported.

As well as this, carbon dioxide is used as a way to stun and kill animals for meat and is seen as an essential part of the meat industry.

The gas that is used in soft drinks, cider and beer to add fizz is typically carbon dioxide (hence the term carbonation), although one infamous urban legend explored the possibility of using hydrogen gas instead.

Finally, it is part of the packaging process used to store salad vegetables, fresh meat and poultry, that works by altering the atmosphere the food is packaged in before it is vacuum-sealed, extending its shelf life considerably.

Beyond the food industry, pressurised carbon dioxide is also used to sterilise equipment, as as the central ingredient in carbon dioxide fire extinguishers designed to handle electrical fires.

Carbon dioxide is stored in a very pressurised way and so it needs to be very carefully stored with tightly sealed valves. Because of the pressure, external damage can cause the tank to burst, so businesses that work with pressurised carbon dioxide should be very careful with its use.