I have recently been challenged about the environmental credentials most cryogenic blasters claim to have.
After all, how can we claim to be carbon neutral when we use carbon dioxide as our blast media?
Well, there is an easy answer to the question; we only use recycled Co2.
Co2 is produced from many forms of the manufacturing industries. These companies will capture this Co2 rather than release it into the atmosphere. I would like to say that this is due to some sustainability/social responsibility programme, but in reality it isn’t. They capture Co2 because they can sell it.
The Co2 is purchased by a select few companies, whilst still in gas form, and then turned into liquid Co2. It is the liquid Co2 that is used in a myriad of industries and applications (including dry ice blasting).
‘But we are still putting Co2 into the atmosphere’ is the next question I nearly always hear. Technically yes. But the Co2 we use was already there. It existed before we recycled it and now we have put it to a secondary use.
And by putting it to a secondary use, we will have replaced a technique or method which would have a carbon footprint.
Are you still with me? Here’s an example: Optimum recently de greased a commercial kitchen operation which had, for years, been using a range of chemicals, cloths, brushes etc to perform the same operation as dry ice blasting.
The amount of plastic containers used alone, would amount to a massive Co2 footprint let alone the manufacture of the chemicals inside them. And the cloths that capture the chemical and grease are all disposed of (along with the plastic containers) and are the replaced on a daily basis, using up landfill or energy to incinerate.
Dry ice blasting did the same job, if not better and faster, with no chemical and no waste stream and therefore having made no new Co2 in the process.
Ok, we can’t ‘float’ to work and we use electricity, and so the claims could be challenged on these grounds. But like I’ve said in previous blogs/posts, it’s the action of cryogenic blasting that is Co2 neutral and definitely compared to what it replaces.
By Ian Reynolds