Bottled nitrogen to become a thing of the past, according to Oxair
Oxair, an Australian company that specialises in gas separation, said that companies needing regular supplies of nitrogen can be certain of one thing — shipping in cumbersome cylinders or tankers is an outdated option now that on-site nitrogen membrane systems and pressure swing adsorption (PSA) technology is available.
Nitrogen is used for displacing oxygen to prevent explosions in highly dangerous atmospheres, with companies often relying on the gas being transported in. This can prove expensive and logistically challenging for remote locations due to conditions en route and storage space, not to mention the health and safety risks for staff manually moving cylinders from one place to another.
In the heat of a mining operation, drilling for oil and gas or turning molten metals, being at the mercy of the supply chain for nitrogen cylinders or the risk of externally sourced cylinders or tanks running out at a critical time are potential problems that operators working in hostile conditions can do without.
Generating nitrogen on site offers a more flexible, stable supply line and is more environmentally friendly, making redundant the need to swap full for empty cylinders, as well as providing other benefits such as easy installation, fast start-up, unattended operation and cost savings.
Suitable for a range of industry sectors, including mining, steel, food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and automotive, on-site nitrogen membrane generators can be customised to provide an efficient supply for a variety of volumes, purity requirements and usage patterns, especially if the demand fluctuates.
On-site gas generation, involving membrane technology, uses compressed air forced through a polymeric hollow fibre to selectively permeate oxygen, water vapour and other impurities out of its side walls while allowing nitrogen to flow through its centre and emerge as high purity N2 gas.
Oxair supplies nitrogen membrane systems offering a range of volume requirements up to 5000 m3/h with a compact design for use where space is an issue.
Both membrane and PSA nitrogen-generating technology are also environmentally friendlier methods of delivery by reducing the carbon footprint associated with having cylinders transported from an off-site facility and then the return journey when they are empty.
Oxair CEO James Newell said: “Companies have different demands but need to adapt to a dynamic marketplace and squeeze every cent out of production processes. Ensuring a constant supply of nitrogen is a crucial requirement for many industry sectors. Nitrogen membrane generators can safeguard supplies and help operators become self-sufficient in this important gas.”
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