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The Technology and Application of Nitrogen Generator

Source: From Wikipedia

Pressure swing adsorption technology

The technology of air-to-nitrogen production with the use of adsorption processes in nitrogen generators is well studied and widely applied at industrial facilities for the recovery of high-purity nitrogen

The operating principle of a nitrogen generator utilizing the adsorption technology is based upon the dependence of the adsorption rates featured by various gas mixture components upon pressure and temperature factors. Among nitrogen adsorption plants of various types, pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants have found the broadest application world-wide.

The system's design is based on the regulation of gas adsorption and adsorbent regeneration by means of changing pressures in two adsorber–adsorbent-containing vessels. This process requires constant temperature, close to ambient. With this process, nitrogen is produced by the plant at the above-atmospheric pressure, while the adsorbent regeneration is accomplished at below-atmospheric pressure.

The swing adsorption process in each of the two adsorbers consists of two stages running for a few minutes. At the adsorption stage oxygen, H2O and CO2 molecules diffuse into the pore structure of the adsorbent whilst the nitrogen molecules are allowed to travel through the adsorber–adsorbent-containing vessel. At the regeneration stage the adsorbed components are released from the adsorbent vented into the atmosphere. The process is then multiply repeated.


Applications of nitrogen generators

Food and beverage industries

The moment food or beverages are produced, or fruits and vegetables harvested, an aging process kicks in until the complete decay of the products. This is caused by bacteria and other organisms. Generators are used to flood the products with N2 that takes out the oxygen and prolongs the product lifetime significantly because these organisms cannot develop. Furthermore, chemical degradation of food caused by oxidation can be eliminated or stopped.

Analytical chemistry

Nitrogen generators are required for various forms of Analytical chemistry such as Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry and Gas Chromatography where a stable and continuous supply of Nitrogen is necessary.

Aircraft & motor vehicle tires

Although air is 78% Nitrogen, most aircraft tires are filled with nitrogen, and there are many tire and automotive shops with nitrogen generators to fill tires, the advantage being that nitrogen in a tank is dry. Often a compressed air tank will have water in it that comes from atmospheric water vapor condensing in the tank after leaving the air compressor. Also, nitrogen is said to maintain a more stable pressure when heated and cooled[citation needed] and is said[citation needed] to be a larger molecule (109.76 pm) so doesn't permeate the tire as easily as O2(120.74 pm) and Argon.

Chemical and petrochemical industries

The primary and very important application of nitrogen in chemical and petrochemical industries is the provision of inert environment aimed at ensuring general industrial safety during cleaning and protection of process vessels. Besides, nitrogen is used for pipelines pressure testing, chemical agents transportation, and regeneration of used catalysts in technological processes.

Electronics

In electronics, nitrogen serves as an antioxidant in the manufacture of semi-conductors and electric circuits, heat treatment of finished products, as well as in blowing and cleaning.

Glass industry

In the glass production, nitrogen proves efficient as a cooling agent for bow oven electrodes, oxidation inhibitor during process procedures, as well as air cooler.

Metallurgy

The metal industry generally utilizes nitrogen as a means of protecting ferrous and non-ferrous metals during annealing. Also, nitrogen is helpful in such standard industry processes as neutral tempering, cementing, hard brazing, stress relieving, cyanide hardening, metal-powder sintering and extrusion die cooling.

Paint-and-varnish industry

Paint and varnish production uses nitrogen for the creation of an inert environment in process vessels to ensure safety, as well as for oxygen displacement during packing in order to prevent polymerization of drying oils.

Petroleum industry

In the petroleum industry, nitrogen is an indispensable component in a number of processes. Most commonly, nitrogen is used to create an inert environment for preventing explosions and for fire safety and to support transportation and transfer of hydrocarbons. Additionally, nitrogen is used for pipeline testing and purging, cleaning technological vessels and cleaning liquefied gas carriers and hydrocarbon storage facilities.

Pharmaceutical industry

In pharmaceutical industry, nitrogen finds application in pharmaceuticals packaging, and ensuring against explosion and fire safety in activities where fine dispersed substances are used.

Hypoxic air fire prevention system

Nitrogen generators are used in hypoxic air fire prevention systems to produce air with a low oxygen content.


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