Compressed CO2 vs Compressed Air

What Is the Difference Between Compressed Carbon Dioxide and Compressed Air? 

Most people assume that compressed air and CO2 refer to the same thing. So, is compressed air CO2? No, it’s not. However, carbon dioxide can be compressed like regular air, and although both are gasses, the majority of their similarities end there. Many differences exist between compressed air and compressed CO2, so let’s explore what sets them apart.

The Ease of Compression Between Regular Air and CO2

You should know that CO2 is much easier to compress than regular air. As a result, CO2 emits less heat during the compression and requires less compression equipment. However, the compression of CO2 also poses some unique challenges. 

Firstly, there is moisture created in the compression of air and CO2. In the case of compressing regular air, the moisture poses no significant problem if it’s drained. Moisture created in carbon dioxide compression turns into carbonic acid, which can corrode the equipment. Therefore, precautions are in place to prevent equipment corrosion. These precautions include utilizing stainless steel and coated material for the equipment that touches the condensate. 

Secondly, CO2 is a heavier molecule, and it will generate more vigorous vibrations. Additionally, if it’s compressed too much, it can turn into liquid. These might cause compressor damage.

How Do You Liquefy CO2?

CO2 compressor vs. air compressor design

Telling the difference between a CO2 compressor and an air compressor by just looking at it can be tricky. However, there are some differences inside:

  • A CO2 compressor has a stainless steel coating on the inside to prevent corrosion
  • A CO2 compressor is commonly larger than an air compressor of the same capacity. This allows it to handle the higher vibrations and vibrations better.
  • A C02 compressor lacks a direct inlet line. A CO2 source provides the gas. Therefore, there is an inlet system for treating the carbon dioxide before it gets to the air compressor. 

Environmental Concerns

Compressed air is derived from compressing regular ambient air; therefore, it has no harm to the environment when it’s released into the atmosphere. However, CO2 is a greenhouse gas that can harm the environment if it’s let into the atmosphere.

On the other hand, compressed air has zero harm if breath. If you breathe CO2 in an enclosed space, its accumulation in the body can be a health hazard.

To avoid releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, capture it after use, store it and reuse it in other applications.

Uses of Compressed Carbon Dioxide vs. Compressed Air

Another significant difference is the use of carbon dioxide and air when compressed. Generally, compressed air is utilized to power pneumatic tools, operate a brake, and convey materials.

Conversely, CO2 is compressed to be transported or stored. Once compressed, it’s used to create inert atmospheres in particular processes and to carbonate beverages. Compressed CO2 is also utilized as feedstock for chemical reactions.

Why is CO2 used instead of compressed air? Compressed carbon dioxide is preferred for the above uses because of its purity. The components in compressed air can react with some ingredients in beverages, inert processes, and chemical reactions.

It’s crucial that you handle compressed carbon dioxide carefully for environmental protection. During Earth Day 2022 and the extended Earth Month of April, the focus was on efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Some CO2 producers are now amplifying their efforts to reuse and capture carbon dioxide with compressors.

Additionally, there are now increasingly stringent regulations and higher taxes related to releasing CO2 into the atmosphere because of environmental concerns. Previously many people and businesses were releasing CO2 into the air; now, carbon-capturing is the preferred option because it is more sustainable and less expensive.

Air Compressor for Sale in Wisconsin

If you plan to employ carbon-capturing in your business, you need CO2 compressor installation. Welcome to Wenniger Compressor Co.; we are a first-class air compressor shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In addition to air compressors, we sell centrifugal pumps, fans, diaphragm metering pumps, and assorted parts, and we do repairs. Call us today.

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