Nitrogen gas has multiple uses in manufacturing as well as in laboratories. It can be used in bars to dispense wine, or beer when blended with carbon dioxide. Food packaging industry uses nitrogen gas to replace oxygen in food packets, so it stays fresh longer. Tire inflation, electronic soldering, electroplating of steel and fire extinguishers, all use nitrogen in some form. Apart from commercial uses, this gas is used in labs for Fume Hoods, Gas Chromatograph and Liquid Chromatograph Mass Spectrometers.
Nitrogen is already present in the air we breathe, as it is made up of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and argon. Nitrogen gas is derived through acryogenic process, where cold temperatures liquify gases. Oxygen liquifies at -183⁰C, so it separates from the air first. Then the air is further cooled for nitrogen to liquify at -195⁰C, which is pumped into insulated cylinders or trucks for further use and delivery.
Instead of having nitrogen delivered in cylinders or trucks to the site of use, there can be generators that produce nitrogen for an uninterrupted supply. There are advantages to nitrogen generators and they are as follows:
- Safe work environment
Compressed gas needs to be stored properly when they are in cylinders or canisters. Training and knowledge is required for handling them. Employee safety is of utmost importance to any employer and the potential for accidents in case of a storage tank is very high. Delivery and unloading expose workers to the gas, which can be hazardous. In such cases, a nitrogen generator on site is a much better option, through which the supply can be controlled, and which may not need storage.
- Managing supply and increased efficiency
An on-site generator will ensure an uninterrupted supply of nitrogen. One doesn’t have to depend on suppliers or logistics to get the material. The flow and purity can be controlled on the basis of need.
- Cost reduction
The cost of delivering nitrogen to a location starts from $0.35 per hundred cubic feet. The costs of cylinders can be $3 per hundred cubic feet, whereas the cost of on-site generation can be as low as $0.21. Of course, there are one-time, initial costs of capital to install the generator, but once installed they will show a return on the investment within a year. On top of this, additional charges involved in deliveries like rental charges, toll etc. can be avoided.
- Impact on the environment
Delivery of nitrogen gas involves transportation which adds to air pollution. Then again disposing of the canisters used for delivery is another thing that causes environmental concerns. Switching to nitrogen generation on-site instead of delivery will reduce an organizations carbon footprint.
- Capacity expansion
If one is looking to expand the capacity for nitrogen, using a generator will be beneficial. If the use of nitrogen gas has increased in an establishment, it is difficult to get additional deliveries within a short span of time. There will be negotiations with suppliers and then delivery delays. However, on-site generation solves this problem.
- Reliability and convenience
A nitrogen generators pretty much delivers the gas on demand. There is no need to manage inventory. The gas supply is constant, at a stable purity that minimizes the risk of contamination while delivery.