As a CO2 shortage threatens our favourite summer beverages, innovators are already working to save the day.
When the news emerged that the carbonated drinks industry was facing restricted CO2 gas availability, the entire UK appeared to gasp in unison. No cold beers or fizzy sodas? Don’t they know there’s a heatwave on – and a World Cup?
The shortage has been mostly caused by an unusually high number of European fertiliser factories, which produce CO2 as a by-product, shutting down for summer maintenance. Before we knew it, wholesalers were restricting the amount of beer and pop sold to restaurants and bars, and Coca-Cola announced that some soft drinks would face a temporary halt in production.
Aghast in the face of such summer deprivations, fizz fans will be glad to hear that a Leeds-based manufacturer has been working away on a solution for years. Although unlikely to have an impact on the current crisis, specialist chemicals company Stephenson Group has spent five years getting a patent for its product, which has the potential to fend off future soda shenanigans.
They claim that their carbon dioxide solubiliser, Sustain, can reduce the amount of CO2 needed in a carbonated drink by about 20%. As with so many great innovations, Sustain was developed by accident when one of the company’s chemists was attempting to find a way to reduce foam produced by fizzy drinks.
Sustain is already being used in the South American and Indian markets, but it has yet to be trialled by a major drinks manufacturer. However, it’s good to know that such developments are already well advanced, should such a national tragedy ever strike again.
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