Carbon dioxide is used in water and wastewater treatment to control pH. Alternatives, such as acid and chlorine, are available, but come with their own considerations and requirements.
Dry ice is often used in many medical applications such as flash freezing biological samples, removing growths, and providing refrigeration for vaccines during transport. Carbon dioxide is also used with oxygen and other gases in specialty gas mixtures to help diagnose disease like COPD.
Carbon dioxide is commonly used in welding as a shielding gas, particularly in the process known as Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding or Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). In this context, CO2 serves as a shielding gas to protect the weld from the atmosphere, preventing oxidation and ensuring a clean, strong weld.
Carbon dioxide can be used to preserve or freeze foods. Liquid carbon dioxide or dry ice is used to quickly freeze foods. Carbon dioxide is also used throughout the meat and poultry industry in such applications as animal stunning and to keep meat cool during blending.
Carbon dioxide puts the “fizz” into carbonated beverages. Without carbon dioxide, many beverages, such as soda, soft drinks, and beer, would be very flat.
Carbon dioxide is used to create enhanced growing atmospheres in greenhouses and similar growing environments. The enhanced atmosphere promotes better, faster growth with higher product yields.
Today, use of Carbon Dioxide in North America for these critical applications amounts to approximately
of total CO2 emissions.
Because there are few, if any, alternatives for CO2 in many of these applications, and because the amount CO2 used is minimal in comparison to that being emitted by transportation, electrical generation and industrial processes, it is crucial to maintain CO2 availability for these uses.