energy industry

British pubs, farms raise alarm over latest CO2 production halt

Reuters
British pubs, farms raise alarm over latest CO2 production halt

FARM. Cows eat straw and grass silage which is normally a winter feed at a farm in Harpole, near Northampton, Britain, August 10, 2022.

Andrew Boyers/Reuters

CF Fertilisers UK temporarily halts ammonia production at its Billingham plant, which produces CO2 as a byproduct that is used to put fizz into beer and stun poultry and pigs before slaughter

LONDON, United Kingdom – Britain’s drinks and food industry on Thursday, August 25, raised the alarm over the availability of carbon dioxide (CO2) after soaring energy prices forced a major producer to pause its operations.

CF Fertilisers UK on Wednesday, August 24, took a decision to temporarily halt ammonia production at its Billingham plant, which produces CO2 as a byproduct that is used to put fizz into beer and stun poultry and pigs before slaughter, due to high natural gas and carbon prices.

A pub association boss said the decision “couldn’t be worse” given other strains on supply chains.

“This decision raises serious concerns for the sustainable supply of CO2 to the brewing and pub industry,” Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said.

“A guaranteed supply is essential for operations across pub and brewing businesses.”

National Farmers Union president Minette Batters said it was monitoring the impact of the move both on the production of fertilizer, of which ammonia is a key ingredient, and CO2.

She said the move was “extremely worrying and is a sign of the pressure the fertilizer and energy markets are under.”

High energy prices, intensified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are impacting the production of ammonia globally, and last month Italian drinks companies warned of a CO2 shortage after some producers cut output.

Norway’s Yara, one of the world’s largest fertilizer makers, said on Thursday it was further curtailing production of ammonia in Europe due to soaring gas prices, while Germany’s BASF is considering further cuts.

Last year, the industry in Britain struck a deal to ensure businesses had a sustainable supply of CO2 after CF Fertilisers shut its two main plants, which produced 60% of the country’s CO2 requirement at the time.

“Since last autumn, the CO2 market’s resilience has improved, with additional imports, further production from existing domestic sources, and better stockpiles,” a British government spokesperson said.

“While the government continues to examine options for the market to improve resilience over the longer term, it is essential industry acts in the interests of the public and business to do everything it can to meet demand.” – Rappler.com

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