Oxygen Generation for Industrial Applications
Oxygen is an important nonmetallic gas with atomic number of 8 in the periodic table. It is too well-known a fact to warrant a repetition for its centrality to sustenance of life on Earth. The nonmetallic element is equally important for sustaining industrial operations. The gas is valuable in industrial processes due to its high reactivity and its readiness to form oxides with most of the elements and compounds leaving aside a few exceptions. It supports combustion; however, in itself, oxygen is not combustible. In most of the industrial applications oxygen is used for its property to support combustion apart from its use in medical applications where it provides supplemental oxygen. Ultimately, in this application as well, oxygen supports combustion in our bodies at the cellular level.
How Oxygen Generation on Industrial Scale is Done?
Oxygen generation is accomplished on industrial scale in order to meet the requirements of diverse range of industries. Atmospheric air comprises of 21% of oxygen but industrial application needs oxygen with higher concentrations, up to 99.7%. This is done through deploying onsite oxygen generations systems which can produce oxygen with high concentrations. From big to small industrial operations meet their O2 requirements either by subscribing oxygen cylinders from industrial gas companies or they decide to opt for installing onsite oxygen generation. The former is costlier and is also fraught with logistical difficulties. Later provides you high concentration oxygen at fraction of the cost you paid for oxygen cylinder subscription.
Oxygen generation for industrial applications through industrial machinery especially designed and optimized for the purpose. The industrial machinery is known as onsite oxygen generation, oxygen generator or oxygen generation plant. They refer to one and the same thing. Several processes are used for generation of oxygen for industrial consumption. Oxygen is the 2nd largest industrial gas with extensive application across industries such as steel, chemical and biomedical. In fact, it is the steel industry which is reported to use up over 55% of industrial generated oxygen followed by chemical industry that consumes more than 25% oxygen. These industries with numerous others like them, big or small, produce their own onsite oxygen through techniques like cryogenic distillation, pressure swing adsorption (PSA) and membrane separation.
How Oxygen Generation with Cryogenic Distillation Process Works?
There are several processes for extracting and enriching oxygen separated from atmospheric air comprising of 21% oxygen. In the cryogenic generation process, the step involves inlet of atmospheric air into the air separation unit as a feedstock. The air is then filtered for removing dust particles after which it passes into an air compressor for compression. Here the feed air is compressed which has composition similar to the atmospheric with 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen. Next, the compressed air goes through molecular sieves for purification—removal of impurities like hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and water moisture. Having been cleaned, the air gets pushed into series of heat exchangers where the liquefaction is achieved. The liquefied air is now entered into a high pressure distillation column where oxygen is physically separated from nitrogen and other rare gases. At this stage, oxygen is collected and moved into a low pressure distillation column for distillation to achieve the required purity.
What is Difference Between an Oxygen Generator and Oxygen Generation Plant?
Oxygen generator is a device for generating onsite oxygen with a flow rate up to 50m3/hr. The compressors, cold box and other components used in the fabrication are tightly integrated in a small space. It can generate oxygen uninterrupted with high purity up to 99.7%and requires minimum maintenance being built with ASME quality and OEM components.
Oxygen Generation Plant
Oxygen generation plant is an industrial device generating onsite with flow rate of more than 50m3/hr. The plant is designed for large scale continuous oxygen generation. It can work 24 hours just like the generator being fabricated with world-class OEM components and materials ideally with certifications from the top assurance companies like CE & ISO 9001: 2015.
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Also Read: How is Oxygen Produced for Industrial Use?