The helium shortage is not over yet, and the United States is trapped in a vortex of carbon dioxide

It’s been nearly a month since the United States stopped launching weather balloons from Denver’s Central Park. Denver is just one of about 100 locations in the U.S. that release weather balloons twice a day, which stopped flying in early July due to a global helium shortage. The United States has launched balloons twice a day since 1956.

Data collected from weather balloons comes from instrument packages called radiosondes. Once released, the balloon flies to the lower stratosphere and measures information such as temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction. After reaching an altitude of 100,000 feet or more, the balloon pops up and the parachute brings the radiosonde back to the surface.

While the helium shortage here has not improved, the United States is in the vortex of carbon dioxide shortage again.

Tighter supplies or carbon dioxide supply shortages continue to affect businesses across the U.S., and the situation doesn’t appear to be getting better in the short term, with pressure continuing to be felt in the U.S. over the next few months, with the southeastern and southwestern U.S. believed to be the worst.

As far as the hospitality industry is concerned, carbon dioxide is widely used as a refrigerant in the food and beverage industry, but also in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) to extend shelf life and carbonated beverages, and dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) is increasingly used in home delivery. When it comes to freezing food, the trend has flourished during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why pollution is affecting markets now more than ever

Gas pollution is considered a major factor in supply shortages. Rising oil and gas prices make using CO2 for EOR more attractive. But the additional wells carry contaminants, and hydrocarbons including benzene are affecting the purity of the carbon dioxide, and supplies are reduced because not all suppliers can filter out the impurities.
It is understood that some plants in the region must now have adequate front-end cleaning to deal with contaminants, but other older plants are struggling to meet or guarantee the requirements of the International Association of Beverage Technology.

More factory closures will affect supply in coming weeks

Hopewell CO2 plant Linde plc in Virginia, USA, is also scheduled to close next month (September 2022). The plant’s total capacity is reported to be 1,500 tonnes per day. Further plant closures in the coming weeks mean things could get worse before they get better, with at least four other smaller plants closing or planning to close in the next 60 days.

Post time: Aug-17-2022