Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide gas is formed from the combination of two elements: carbon and oxygen. It is produced from the combustion of coal or hydrocarbons, the fermentation of liquids and the breathing of humans and animals. Found in small proportions in the atmosphere, it is assimilated by plants which in turn produce oxygen. CO2 gas has a slightly irritating odor, is colorless and heavier than air. It cannot sustain life. It freezes at −78.5 °C to form carbon dioxide snow. In an aqueous solution it forms carbonic acid, which is too unstable to be easily isolated.

Main Application


Carbon dioxide is used in synthesis chemistry and for controlling reactor temperatures. CO2 is also employed to neutralize alkaline effluents.

Carbon dioxide is used under supercritical conditions for purifying or dying polymer, animal or vegetal fibers.


Carbon dioxide is used for inerting, chemical synthesis, supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), acidification (pH) of wastewater or product transportation at low temperature (−78 °C or −108 °F).

Food and Beverage

CO2 is used in the food business in these main areas

  • Carbonation of fizzing beverages such as soft drinks, mineral water or beer.
  • Packaging of foodstuffs, its inerting and bacteriostatic properties being used successfully in nitrogen mixtures (Modified Atmosphere Packaging or MAP), to increase the shelf life of many food products (§ ALIGAL™).
  • As cryogenic fluid in chilling or freezing operations or as dry ice for temperature control during the distribution of foodstuffs.
  • Cafein is removal from coffee using supercritical CO2.


CO2 produces close-to-physiologic atmospheres for the operation of artificial organs.
Carbon dioxide is used as a component in a mixture of oxygen or air as respiratory stimulant to promote deep breathing. It is also used for the surgical dilation by intra-abdominal insufflations.

Metals industry

Carbon Dioxide is typically used for environment protection

  • CO2 is used for red fume suppression during scrap and carbon charging, for nitrogen pick-up reduction during EAF tapping and for bottom stirring.
  • In the non ferrous metallurgy, carbon dioxide is used for fume suppression during ladle transfer of matte (Cu/Ni production) or bullion (Zn/Pb production).
  • Small amount of liquid CO2 can be used in recycling of waters from Acid Mine Drainage (AMD).
  • The well known CO2 lasers are feed with some special grades of carbon dioxide (§ LASAL™).

Laboratories & analysis

Supercritical CO2 is the mobile phase in both chromatography and extraction applications.

Pulp and paper

Carbon dioxide enables to sharply tune the pH of recycled mechanical or chemical pulps after an alkaline bleaching.
CO2 can be used in the Tall Oil neutralization and for increasing the performance of paper machines.


Carbon dioxide is usually used in waste water treatment, as a cooling medium in environmental testing of electronic devices.
Carbon dioxide can be used to add conductivity to ultrapure water, for CO2 snow abrasive cleaning of parts or residues on wafers.
CO2 can also be used as an environmentally friendly supercritical fluid for removing photoresist from wafers, thus avoid organic solvent use.


Injection of carbon dioxide allows to master the pH of liquid effluents. CO2 is an excellent alternative to sulfuric acid for pH balance control.

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