Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2, carbonic acid anhydride ), previously often called carbonic acid, is a natural component of man’s environment, i.e. of its respiratory gas.

Carbon dioxide is colorless, at low concentrations, the gas is odorless. At higher concentrations it has a sharp, acidic odor. The occurrence of CO2 on the earth should be regarded as an essential part of the carbon cycle. Carbon is to a large extent organically bound and stored in fossil fuels such as petroleum, natural gas and coal.

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In recent years, carbon dioxide has fallen into disrepute as the major greenhouse gas and thus possibly as one of the causes of global warming.


Today, most of the carbon dioxide coming on to the market as industrial gas is recovered from CO2 sources which already exist. About 70% of the CO2 on the European market is actually recovered from synthesis gas plants Only a small part of the CO2 is generated by the combustion of fossil fuels, preferably natural gas. This usually occurs in smaller units ,which are so far away from a suitable CO2 source that the transport to the consumer is economically not feasible.


In welding and the processing industry, carbon dioxide is used to:
- Inert and purge pipes and vessels for safety and maintenance purposes Replace harmful propellants in plastic foam.
- Dry ice is often used for this purpose Operate CO2 lasers.
- Weld construction steel and fi ne-grained steel using the MAG process.
- In the chemistry, petrochemistry, pharmaceutical and medical industries, carbon dioxide is used to:
- Provide an inert solvent or co-reactant for chemical synthesis.
- Extract ingredients and separate them by chromatography.
- Produce inorganic carbonates and catalysts Provide a protective atmosphere in chemical production Regenerate ion exchangers
- Accelerate enhanced oil recovery and natural gas recovery Ensure inert atmospheres during manufacturing and packaging of pharmaceuticals.

In food technology, biology, carbon dioxide is used to:
- Shock-freeze food.
- Protect food during packaging and storage.
- Produce refreshments.
- Stun animals before slaughter.
- Accelerate the growth of plants in greenhouses.
- Adjust the calcite saturation in drinking-water recovery and supply.

In other industries, carbon dioxide is used to:
- Clean surfaces by blasting with CO2 pellets.
- Remove raw oil from rocks and beaches after oil-tanker disasters.
- Remove paint from automotive parts or other coated equipment.
- Protect magnesium melts during handling Prevent oxidation, fi re and explosions

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