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Technology Profile: Production of Nitrogen from Air

By Intratec Solutions |

Nitrogen (N2) makes up 78% of ambient air (20.95% of air is oxygen). N2 is an inert (non-flammable) gas used in industrial plants to prevent undesirable chemical reactions from occurring. Nitrogen is the most common inert gas used in the chemical process industries, due to its high natural abundance and low relative cost. Major uses of N2 include several in metallurgy: for heat treatments; as an alloy constituent; for scavenging; and as a protective gas; as well as in heat treatment. N2 is also used as an inert gas in shielding and firefighting, in food storage and in processing. Nitrogen can be used in the manufacture of other products, including ammonia. Most N2 is produced onsite at industrial facilities, for local consumption. However, it may be stored and transported as a gas or a liquid, at cryogenic temperatures. High-pressure cylinders or cylinder clusters can be used for storage and shipping of small quantities of nitrogen gas. Liquid nitrogen can be transported and shipped in specially insulated storage vessels (small quantities) or by road and rail tankers (large quantities). Production process The process of recovering N2 from air comprises three major sections: (1) purification; (2) refrigeration; and (3) rectification…
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