The Dangers Behind Your Favourite Beverages

It’s natural to associate the need for gas detection in the oil, petrochemical and steel industries. But have you ever thought about the need to detect hazardous gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the brewing and beverage industry?


Nitrogen (N2) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) are naturally present all around us in the atmosphere but CO2 is still under-valued as a hazardous gas. In the atmosphere, COremains at very low concentrations – around 400 parts per million (ppm). However, greater care is needed in brewery and cellar environments where, in confined spaces, the risk of gas canisters or associated equipment leaking could lead to elevated levels. As little as 0.5% volume (5000ppm) of COis a toxic health hazard.


CO2 is colourless, odourless and has a density five times heavier than air. Thus, pockets of CO2 gather low on the ground, gradually increasing in size. CO2 is generated in huge amounts during fermentation and can pose a risk in confined spaces such as vats, cellars, or cylinder storage areas. This can be fatal to workers in the surrounding environment, therefore Health & Safety managers must ensure the correct equipment and detectors are in place.

Nitrogen, on the other hand, can displace oxygen. Brewers often use nitrogen in multiple phases of brewing and dispensing. The process of putting the bubbles into beer, particularly stouts, pale ales and porters. It also ensures the beer doesn’t oxidise or pollute the next batch with harsh flavours. Nitrogen helps push the liquid from one tank to another, as well as offer the potential to be injected into kegs or barrels which pressurises them ready for storage and shipment. Although this gas is not toxic, it displaces oxygen in the atmosphere and leads to oxygen depletion, which is a danger if there is a gas leak, hence accurate gas detection is critical.


Gas detection can be provided in both fixed and portable forms. Installation of a fixed gas detector can benefit larger spaces such as plant rooms to provide continuous area and staff protection 24 hours a day. However, for worker safety in and around cylinder storage area and in spaces designated as a confined space, a portable detector can be more suitable.


Specialist Providers


Shawcity works in partnership with Crowcon to offer specialist gas detection solutions for toxic, flammable and oxygen depletion hazards to protect personnel and work environments across the food and beverage industry.


Systems are bespoke and can all be designed, installed, commissioned, signed off and handed over by our in-house team. Output from controllers can alert a central control room or building management system (BMS), either from new or integrated into an existing system.


For further information or to book a free site survey with the Shawcity team, email: or call 01367 899553

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