CO2 shortage affects brewers and Picnic: ‘Price up by a factor of 5’

CO2 shortage affects brewers and Picnic: ‘Price up by a factor of 5’
CO2 shortage affects brewers and Picnic: ‘Price up by a factor of 5’

Among other things, CO2 is released during the production of ammonia, a raw material for fertilizer. Yara is one of the largest fertilizer producers in Europe, with three factories in Zeeland. The CO2 produced there as a by-product goes to companies that purify the gas and resell it.

For example to brewers, who use it to make beer. And to producers of dry ice, which is essentially nothing more than frozen CO2, and with which frozen products and medicines can be transported refrigerated.

No frozen pizzas

Due to the high gas price, manufacturers such as Yara have significantly reduced production. This means that much less CO2 will come onto the market and that shortage is evident. For example, online supermarket Picnic reported at the end of August that frozen products could temporarily not be delivered because they were no longer supplied with dry ice.

That problem has now been partially solved, a Picnic spokesperson told RTL Z. “We were able to obtain a little more dry ice from another supplier. We have also better insulated the crates in which frozen products are transported, so that we need less dry ice. 40 percent of customers can now order frozen products again.”

It is still unclear when all customers can stock ice cream and pizzas again. The spokesperson hopes for a few weeks. In the long run Picnic wants to get rid of the dry ice completely; for this it develops cooling elements that can be reused.

Not a bad plan, because Putin is squeezing us further and further from Russian gas:

It was also a matter of pinching the butt at the Jopen brewery in Haarlem. Their CO2 supplier, Westfalen, said earlier this month that it could no longer supply carbon dioxide. “They called it Force major. Force majeure,” says director Michel Ordeman. “But we heard from others in the industry that they can’t just call that off. And last week there was suddenly a delivery.”

Substantial price increase

Ordeman Westfalen prefers to keep the contract, he says, although he has already arranged a backup for security of supply. “But then the price you pay for CO2 will go up by a factor of 4 or 5.”

A steep increase, but not as colorful as they see it in Flanders. Brewery Huyghe in Melle always received CO2 from Nippon Gases. He also invoked force majeure and raised prices. So much so that Huyghe would go to 5 million euros a year instead of 345,000 euros, according to a company spokesperson.

In order not to have to deposit so much money for carbon dioxide overnight, the brewery instituted summary proceedings. “Contractually, such a change in price can only be implemented after thirty days and not like now: directly with the knife at the throat.” The judge agreed with them; Nippon indicates on its own site that it will appeal.

The soup is not eaten that hot in Haarlem, but it is annoying, says Ordeman. In order to be less dependent on external parties, he is now looking at whether his brewery can capture and reuse the CO2 released during brewing.

Own carbon dioxide first

“It already pays off for large brewers, which produce more than 100,000 hectoliters on an annual basis. For smaller breweries, such a system is still too expensive at the moment, although we recently spoke with a supplier at a German fair who said he could do something like this cheaper. It would of course be the best if we could simply reuse our own carbon dioxide.”

The article is in Dutch

Tags: CO2 shortage affects brewers Picnic Price factor

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