Dry Ice Business: Unlocking the Full Potential With Increasing Application Areas

April 2021

Ice is a significant commodity. Dry ice works by cooling the air around the food to lower its temperature below zero degrees Celsius. This makes it perfect for keeping outdoor objects cool in summer, either as insulation or as an ingredient in your favorite cocktail. Industry uses ices for transporting goods and preserving their goods. Dry ice is an excellent tool for preserving perishable products. It has certain benefits over liquid nitrogen or water ice (snow) which are sometimes used for this purpose: liquid nitrogen often does not damage the product like liquid nitrogen can, and dry ice can be handled without special equipment unlike snow, which needs to be stored in a freezer or insulated container.

Dry ice is carbon dioxide in solid form. When it sublimates from a solid phase directly to a gas phase, it goes directly through the gas phase without turning into a liquid, hence "dry". It is made by compressing carbon dioxide under great pressure until it liquefies and then allowing the excess pressure to escape from the containment vessel. The remaining carbon dioxide thus solidifies into dry ice.

Dry ice is mostly used in cooling food and carrying out temperature sensitive scientific experiments. However, there are also many other applications for dry ice that affect our everyday lives. The most popular of these is its use as insulation in refrigeration and heat-sensitive equipment transportation packages - it can keep items cool without the need for power or water, including human organs being transported by plane! One of the reasons for this success is that when heated from below, dry ice will sublimate into carbon dioxide gas and not liquid water which lowers temperatures more efficiently.

Here are some key reasons dry ice is used by consumers more:

  • Dry ice is an expensive investment, but the benefits are so outsize that it will pay for itself. 

  • Because dry ice is lighter than water (but denser than most other gases), customers can use it as a packing material for shipping products without worrying about extra weight charges. 

  • It's a lot safer than using a different kind of packing material, and the benefits are incomparable. 

  • When dry ice comes into contact with water, it will turn it to steam, which means your products aren't damaged by the change.

  • You don't have to worry about dry ice disappearing without warning while you're out shipping. It will turn into gas, which means that you'll always know when there's still dry ice vs when there is none left in the pack!

Dry ice is a handy, low-cost way to keep food fresh for hours without the need for a fridge or freezer.

In recent years, the increase in the demand for dry ice has been met with an increase in product supply. This has been achieved by dry ice production increasing from 24 million kgs in 2013 to 32 million kgs in 2016 – an increase of nearly 30%! One of the main reasons for this is the growth in population. The growth of population, combined with the popularity of online food shopping, has led to a rise in demand for transport packaging. To give you an idea of how much dry ice is needed to keep our food cool, it takes 10kgs of dry ice to keep a medium sized fridge freezer cold.

The second factor driving this growth is its use as a cooling mechanism at music festivals and sporting events. Dry ice is commonly used as a cooling system for sports equipment and food items during these events. The dry ice cools down the equipment in only a few minutes, making it possible for them to be reused after the event has finished. Beginning with the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, dry ice has become an essential part of the equipment that teams will be using, increasing the demand for dry ice by more than 13%.

However, water is often overlooked when it comes to making dry ice. As you'll notice from the facts mentioned above, production of dry ice is actually quite dependent on how much water is used. The demand for dry ice will continue to increase, as the population continues to grow and the use of online shopping rises. In response to this increased demand, there is an increasing need for water-free cooling methods, such as dry ice.

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