Nitrogen is an abundantly found element in the earth’s atmosphere, almost making up around 78%. It is said to constitute around 3% by mass of the human body and is the fourth largest element composing human body after oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. It is also used in the industrial manufacturing of ammonia, which is important for making numerous industrial products such as nitric acid, fertilizers, pharmaceutical products, and explosives. Nitrogen gas is also known as the largest industrial gas for obvious reasons. Nitrogen gas production plant is used for generating nitrogen for industrial and medical purposes. Hospitals and industries opt for PSA nitrogen plant or liquid nitrogen plant depending upon their requirements. Functioning of the plant machinery is based on the Linde & Claude process developed in 1930s and it is still being used extensively.
Industrial applications of nitrogen
- Preservation of food( Food Packaging industry)
- In the manufacturing of incandescent bulbs
- In the making of stainless steel
- For decreasing fire hazards in aircrafts
- For cryo-preservation of blood, reproductive cells and other biological materials
Nitrogen gas production plant generates nitrogen by taking air from atmosphere. When the air is taken in from the inlet of plant machinery, it is passed through the compressor for compression. Afterwards, it is passed through the heat exchangers where the air is cooled to cryogenic temperatures. Now, the air is passed into a cleanup system where it is cleaned of impurities such as vapors, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide. After the cleanup, the air is passed into high pressure distillation column where nitrogen gas is formed at the bottom of the distillation column. Nitrogen is here distilled continuously till it meets industrial and medical applications. However, materials used in the making of nitrogen gas plant must be able to withstand high pressure and temperature. Materials used in fabricating and manufacturing of plants meet the standards of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).