By Kristy Dorsey

A Perthshire manufacturing firm is set to help tackle shortages of food-grade carbon dioxide after securing a multi-million pound package of funding.

Run by brothers Richard and Ed Nimmons, Dry Ice Scotland is setting up a new £4 million production site near Dumfries that will use waste CO2 from a nearby plant to make liquid CO2 that is compressed into pellets and slabs of dry ice. Production is expected to reach 8,000 tonnes per year, making the firm one of the top three UK producers of dry ice.

Soaring wholesale prices for gas forced fertiliser manufacturers – whose main by-product is CO2 – to suspend production last month, triggering a shortage in the supply of carbon dioxide used throughout the food and drink supply chain. The UK Government has since agreed temporary support to get fertiliser production back online, though the price of food-grade CO2 remains about five times higher than prior to the spike in gas prices.

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About £3m of the funding for the new Dry Ice Scotland facility was provided by Nash Business Capital, with the balance met by a combination of grant funding and the company’s own resources. The factory will use a process that is claimed to be carbon negative.

Ed Nimmons described the project as a “landmark” in the effort to decarbonise the dry ice industry. His brother and fellow director Richard added: “This is a major step forward for the UK to be 100 per cent reliable on domestic sources of food grade CO2 for dry ice manufacture, reducing transportation carbon footprint and insulating our customers from future CO2 shortages.”

The pair were advised on the financing and property transaction by legal firm Aberdein Considine. Originally established in 2011, Dry Ice Scotland currently employs seven people supplying dry ice pellets and slices to sectors ranging from the pharmaceutical to food distribution industries, and expects to recruit up to eight more staff within the next three years.