On-site nitrogen generators are becoming a staple in various industries around the world. In essence, considered as part of the compressed air family, on-site nitrogen generators are designed to bring you the N2 gas you need on-demand.
On-site nitrogen generators provide your manufacturing plant with higher quality nitrogen gas 24/7 while significantly lowering operating costs. These nitrogen generators are a green solution to meeting companies’ nitrogen gas needs efficiently.
What is Nitrogen?
Nitrogen is the world’s most abundant gas. This gas combines with oxygen to make up the air we breathe. Nitrogen is slow to react with other substances. This makes it an inert gas and ideal for use in applications that require slow or fast oxidation.
An example of needing Nitrogen for slow oxidation would be to prevent the corrosion of circuit boards in the electronics industry. An example of needing it for fast oxidation would be in a situation where you want to avoid an explosion or fire. Nitrogen is odorless and colorless, making it an ideal medium to be used in many industries.
What are the uses of Nitrogen?
Nitrogen is essential and in constant demand in many industries and manufacturing plants across the world. In the chemical industry, Nitrogen is used to produce fertilizers, nitric acid, nylon, dyes, and other products that can benefit from its unreactive properties.
We use Nitrogen in the food industry to preserve foods whose ingredients don’t include preservatives. It can help to extend foods and beverages past their regular expiration dates.
Using Nitrogen can allow you to store bulk foods for more extended periods. It is used in the wine industry to keep wine fresh longer. It can also be used to freeze certain foods quickly. This helps in prolonging the flavor, texture, color, and moisture in those products.
Some other uses for Nitrogen are:
- In the electronics industry, to produce transistors and diodes
- In the automotive industry
- In aquaculture
- In injection molding
- In annealing stainless steel
- As a refrigerant
- For storing sperm, eggs, and other cells for medical research and reproductive technology
- In the pharmaceutical industry
- In the cosmetic industry
- In laboratory and chemical processing
- In the medical and dental industries
- To extend the shelf life of paint and household solvents
What Choices Does Your Company Have for Obtaining the Nitrogen it Needs?
There are three ways in which companies can obtain nitrogen gas to use in their facility.
How to get Nitrogen for a company
- An on-site nitrogen tank can be leased and filled by another company.
- Nitrogen gas can be delivered in high-pressure bottles by another company.
- A Nitrogen generator can be purchased by the company so that they can produce their own nitrogen gas.
Options #1 and #2 would force your company to rely on a third-party supplier. Both choices are more expensive than necessary and are often inefficient. If your supplier is low in stock or for some reason your delivery is late, this will cause a lapse in your production which could wind up costing your company a lot of money.
In addition, these options require your company to rent either a tank or high-pressure bottles; there will be Hazmat regulatory charges and insurance costs, the market cost of liquid Nitrogen, rental fees, and delivery charges. Not to mention the danger of your employees handling the high-pressure cylinders.
With the purchase of a Nitrogen generator (option #3), your company can produce its own Nitrogen while controlling the purity and pressure for use in the particular application in which it is needed. You also have an endless supply whenever you need it.
How a Nitrogen Generator Works
Ambient air is made up of 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. A nitrogen generator can separate nitrogen molecules from compressed air, supplying nitrogen right to your production floor when you need it.
Nitrogen generation occurs when the N2 molecules are separated from the air through a Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) or Membrane Technology. Once separated, the water vapor and oxygen dissipate harmlessly into the atmosphere, while the N2 molecules are stored in a special tank and are ready to use as needed.
The PSA system can deliver a continuous stream of Nitrogen from compressed air that has high purities of 99,999% or 10 PPM or higher. You can control the purity of your Nitrogen according to what you need to satisfy the end product. This is excellent for applications in the food or medical industry. This technological advancement will allow your business to reduce costs and move towards an environmentally friendly nitrogen delivery system.
Benefits of a Nitrogen Generator
A nitrogen generator on-premises ensures that your facility has a supply of Nitrogen anytime you need it. No more waiting for a shipment from someone else. No worries about price fluctuations from suppliers. You are in control of everything, from how much you produce and how much pressure to the degree of purity of your Nitrogen. It’s all up to you. You can generate as much or as little as you need.
Safer for Your Employees
Your company can avoid the hazards that could arise from your employees handling high-pressure canisters. Injuries and explosions are in the past since nitrogen generators stabilize the gas, making them a safer option.
Better for the Environment
Producing your own Nitrogen requires less energy than having it produced elsewhere and delivered to your facility. You don’t have to return bottles that can’t be completely emptied and won’t incur waste related to boil-off losses, which means fewer wasted resources. This all adds up to a significant reduction in your carbon footprint.
Purchasing a nitrogen generator for your facility is an investment and a smart one. Customers that switch to an on-site nitrogen generator see their nitrogen costs lowered from 40% to 80%, as well as a return on investment (ROI) within 6 to 18 months.
Consider the following comparison of a fully operational on-site nitrogen generator system versus a liquid nitrogen delivery contract.
Costs associated with having your Nitrogen delivered from an off-site provider include:
- The market cost of liquid Nitrogen
- Rental fees for the required storage tanks
- All relevant delivery charges
- Hazmat regulatory charges and insurance costs
- Liquid to air nitrogen evaporation loss (which is already paid via the established contracts)
This is a costly cycle, which can be easily solved by setting up your own on-site nitrogen generator.
Related: Benefits of Oil-Free Air Compressors
Initial costs associated with having your own on-site nitrogen generator include:
- Air compressors
- Site preparation
After your ROI has been met, the only ongoing expenses your company would incur are maintenance and energy costs.
As you can see from the above scenarios, the long-term financial benefits of having an on-site nitrogen generator system far exceed the initial investment costs.