A substantial number of growers has to deal with less or even no CO2 at all for a few days. The reason: disruptions at different sources, by mischange coinciding, leaving both OCAP and Air Liquide, supplier of liquid CO2, unable to deliver. According growth specialists, growers will certainly notice the CO2 shortage in their production in the coming period.
"Once again a problem," that is how a tomato grower expressed the feeling of frustration last weekend, that several of his peers are undoubtedly sharing with him. Frustration on the one hand about their production that is being disrupted, but on the other hand about the lack of supply security of CO2.
As an essential building block at photosynthesis, growers and their crops cannot do without CO2. Just a bit without, that is still possible, but as soon as it takes a few days, it will have a serious impact on the production. "It does not have to be a disaster for all growers, but depending on different circumstances and the type of cultivation, a production loss of five to ten percent might occur," as Willem Valstar of Stargrow Consultancy calculates. "And if a supply problem causes the CO2 values to drop below the outside values of nowadays of around 370-400 ppm, say about 250 ppm, then the production loss can even go up to 20 percent."
Additional heating makes no sense with hot weather
If the prices in the market are low at such a moment, it hurts a little less, but certainly, if the grower misses a good price due to a lower production, it may cost a considerable amount. And now that it is so hot, the grower has few alternatives. "Additional heating and therefore own CO2 production makes no sense, because the extra heat that is generated, cannot be used at all by a grower because of the high outside temperatures."
So it turns out to be an unfortunate combination of circumstances: high temperatures and disruptions at CO2 suppliers. Not for the first time, writes Randy Kardol, energy manager at bQurius. As soon as Shell, the largest producer of CO2 for OCAP, goes into maintenance or has to deal with a malfunction, the supply security for the growers will disappear. A security that growers need if they want to take sustainability steps.
New source at the end of August
Air Liquide, which is currently working hard at resolving the malfunction, just like OCAP, understands that growers want supply security and are annoyed about the disruptions. A company spokesperson said he hoped to be able to restart production later this week. And for the long term, he states that there will be more supply security when the AVR waste incineration plant starts supplying CO2 to growers in the Arnhem region and to Air Liquide at the end of August.