Ethylene gas is a naturally occurring plant ripening hormone. Its chemical formula is C2H4, it is a hydrocarbon.
Ethylene gas for fruit ripening and degreening, is commonly available in three forms:
- Catalytic Generators, which use an ethanol-mix, to produce pure ethylene gas.
- Ripe-Gas mix, cylinders containing approximately 5% ethylene and 95% nitrogen or “Air”.
- Pure Ethylene Gas, 99.5% ethylene in cylinders.
Ripe-Gas is completely safe, and cannot ignite or explode. Pure Ethylene can be extremely dangerous, and is flammable starting at 28,000 ppm (2.8%) mixed with air, and at higher concentrations too, up to a point at which there is not enough oxygen to support combustion. Catalytic Generator produced ethylene, can be dangerous too, if too much liquid is used to produce ethylene gas in too small a ripening room. One quart of Ethy-Gen makes 10.7 cubic feet of ethylene gas, so if used in a room of only 382 cubic feet air volume, it becomes explosive (the math: 10.7 / .028).
Using ethylene sensors to control the gassing process, is flat-out a good idea.
Link to more on ethylene gas safety at Catalytic Generators.
Thanks for reading! Banana Jim jim@BananaJim.com.