Carbon dioxide is a gas used in the beverage industry to make some beers and soft drinks and food packaging to increase the shelf life of fresh foods. However, nitrogen gas, which can be created as part of regular compressed gas infrastructure, can be utilised instead of carbon dioxide in various applications.
Nitrogen is used in the food and drink industry for two primary applications: packaging and carbonation. When nitrogen is used for packaging, it displaces oxygen in the headspace of a product container. This prevents oxidation, altering foods’ taste, colour, and nutrition.
Nitrogen is an effective oxidant in small breweries since it can be used instead of carbon dioxide to remove oxygen from tanks during purging, preventing oxidation and contamination. It may also be utilised for vessel purging, clean in place (CIP) piping, faster process speed, and bottle ageing.
Nitrogen generators create high-quality nitrogen continuously from compressed air, and the setup is straightforward: pipe in pressurised air and pipe out nitrogen. In terms of the environment, carbon dioxide is most likely the number one public adversary.
This makes the fact that there is a gas scarcity all the more amusing, as experts warn that it will damage a range of sectors, most notably food and beverage.
Nitrogen is essential to the biochemistry of all living things. In our atmosphere, it is the most common gas. Because nitrogen is dry and inert, it is widely employed in the industry. While liquid nitrogen supplies and high-pressure compressed gas cylinders have traditionally been used to obtain nitrogen, local nitrogen generation is a much more modern option that puts individuals in charge.
Nitrogen, unlike carbon dioxide, is inexpensive to produce as an end-product of air compression technology. This may save up to 90% on the cost of purchased gas in cylinders or bulk. This could enhance on-site productivity and make gas storage logistics more accessible. Still, it could also help alleviate supply-chain concerns, as economists estimate that energy costs will continue to climb.
In addition, because nitrogen is non-toxic and does not contribute to greenhouse gasses, its use in the food and drink industry could have a significant environmental impact. This is because the microscopic germs that make food spoil require oxygen, fresh foods are packaged with carbon dioxide rather than oxygen to keep them fresh.
The food and drink business has confidence in nitrogen as a carbon dioxide substitute. It’s the preferred gas for removing oxygen from various packaged items, including beer. When nitrogen is used to purge tanks, it makes them oxygen-free, preventing subsequent contamination and oxidation. Before filling, nitrogen gas is used to clean, inert, and pressurise kegs, bottles, and cans.
Nitrogen can be a critical alternative to carbon dioxide used in the food and drink industry. It has several benefits that make it an ideal choice for many applications. With its low cost, high efficiency, and safety, nitrogen is an excellent option for the food and drink industry. When used correctly, it can help to improve the quality of products and extend their shelf life.