F-Gas News: News of carbon dioxide shortages sparks refrigerant panic buying

Production problems with carbon dioxide will affect several industries, but not yet clear whether refrigerant will be affected

A reported national shortage of carbon dioxide in the UK has led to reports of ‘panic buying’ amongst CO2 refrigerant customers.

The shortage, affecting all forms of carbon dioxide, from so called ‘beer gas’ to soft drinks production, has occurred due to high summer demand coinciding with maintenance shutdown at several CO2 production facilities, according to specialist publication GasWorld,

The problems with production of the gas have affected leading suppliers of CO2 in its refrigerant form, including Air Liquide and Linde.

The production problems are understood to be temporary and so it is not yet clear whether the supply issues with CO2 as a whole would actually have any real impact on refrigerant supplies, since the pure refrigerant version of the gas is produced at a much smaller volume than other applications such as so-called beer gas, for pubs, or CO2 for food and drink production.

However, customers of the refrigerant – CO2 is now used in volume at most of the major supermarkets – appear to have taken the view that the risk is not worth taking and have sought to buy up the gas in bulk. One major supplier said: “Yesterday there were good stocks of the refrigerant, but today there is not.”

Source: RAC plus