On-Site Nitrogen Production

Don't buy nitrogen, on-site nitrogen generators are a cost-effective solution!

Nitrogen gas is an industrial gas produced using air separation by mechanical means by taking atmospheric air (the air that you are breathing - 78% nitrogen & 20.9% oxygen), pressurizing it in an air compressor and then separating it with a PSA (pressure swing adsorption) generator. Nitrogen can be supplied by high pressure nitrogen cylinders; dewars of liquid nitrogen; or bulk liquid nitrogen or a nitrogen generator. 

 

Nitrogen is an inert gas that doesn’t react to other substances, while oxygen produces water vapor which corrodes a range of substances. 

 

Nitrogen Generators have a wide variety of applications, including serving as an inert replacement for air where oxidation is undesirable:

To preserve the freshness of packaged or bulk foods (by delaying rancidity and other forms of oxidative damage) - potato chips, nuts, snack foods and packaged salads.

To preserve the freshness of wine (by delaying rancidity and other forms of oxidative damage)

On top of liquid explosives as a safety measure - paints and solvents

The production of electronic parts such as transistors, diodes and integrated circuits (prevents oxygen and moisture)

Dried and pressurized, as a dielectric gas for high voltage equipment

Use in military aircraft fuel systems to reduce fire hazard.

Use in tires on vehicles. Nitrogen is less likely to migrate through tire rubber than is oxygen, which means more stable tire pressure over time. Racers learned that tires filled with nitrogen exhibit less pressure change with temperature swings.

 

On-Site Nitrogen Production

 

Alpha-Pure nitrogen generating systems produce dry gas from a compressed air source; in the quantity you need, at low cost. 

Alpha-Pure Pressure Swing systems (PSA) are used in applications ranging from chemical blanketing to food packaging to oil and gas production and much more.

Alpha-Pure offers a complete line of Pressure Swing Adsorption nitrogen generators and ancillary products such as nitrogen buffer tanks. 

Alpha-Pure guarantees quality nitrogen generation products are backed by unsurpassed service as well as the best warranties in the industry. 

 

Applications

1. LC-MS / Pharma

2. Chemical

3. Industrial

4. Oil & Gas

5. Food Packaging

6. Power Generation

7. Laser Cutting

8. Plastics

Laser

1. CO2 Laser Cutting

2. Fiber Laser Cutting

3. Beam Purge

LC-MS / Pharmaceutical

1. LCMS

2. NMR

3. Packaging

4. Product Transfer

5. Drying

Industrial

1. Rapid Prototyping

2. Electronics

3. Heat Treat

4. Military

Food

1. Packaging

2. Blanketing

3. Sparging

4. Bottling

 

Nitrogen Generators operate on the Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) principle to produce a continuous stream of nitrogen gas from compressed air. 

 

Two towers are filled with carbon molecular sieve (CMS). Pretreated compressed air enters the bottom of the on-line tower and follows up through the CMS. 

 

Oxygen and other trace gasses are preferentially adsorbed by the CMS, allowing nitrogen to pass through. After a pre-set time, the on-line tower automatically switches to regenerative mode, venting contaminants from the CMS. 

 

Carbon molecular sieve differs from ordinary activated carbons in that it has a much narrower range of pore openings. This allows small molecules such as oxygen to penetrate the pores and be separated from nitrogen molecules which are too large to enter the CMS. The larger molecules of nitrogen by-pass the CMS and emerge as the product gas.

 

PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) Technology:

PSA technology utilizes two towers which are filled with carbon molecular sieve (CMS). Compressed air enters the bottom of the "online" tower and flows up through the CMS. Oxygen and other trace gases are preferentially adsorbed by the CMS, allowing nitrogen to pass through. After a pre-set time the on-line tower automatically switches to the regenerative mode, venting contaminants from the CMS. Carbon molecular sieve differs from ordinary activated carbons as it has a much narrower range of pore openings. This allows small molecules such as oxygen to penetrate the pores and separate from nitrogen molecules which are too large to enter the CMS. The larger molecules by-pass the CMS and emerge as nitrogen gas.  PSA nitrogen generators are typically used in applications where the purity requirement is higher than 99.5% (0.5% O2 or below).

 

How Much Does a Nitrogen Generator Cost?

Typically a nitrogen generator will pay for itself in less than two years assuming the nitrogen is being used continuously (70% utilization factor is a rule of thumb) and the process can tolerate some oxygen. The price of industrial gas varies greatly based on geography (proximity to a nitrogen supply source) and volume (how much nitrogen is used) therefore each case will be different.

 

Maintenance for Generator Products

As with all equipment, service is required on PSA nitrogen generators. PSA units require semi-annual filter changes. They will also require valve rebuilds every two years as well as muffler changes yearly. PSA units will require their oxygen sensors to be replaced every 2-3 years (on units equipped with this feature).

 

Below are a list of frequently asked questions:

Can the nitrogen generator be installed outdoors?

 Yes units can be installed outdoors, however it less expensive to install them indoors eliminating the need for optional outdoor accessories (rain protection; freeze protection; etc.). Most nitrogen generators are installed indoors.

Do your units make liquid nitrogen?

 No. Our nitrogen generators are non-cryogenic and produce gaseous nitrogen. The nitrogen temperature will be roughly the same temperature as the ambient temperature in the room.

How big is a nitrogen generator?

 Obviously it depends on the flow rate of the unit. A rule of thumb: if you are using cylinders the unit will take up roughly the same amount of floor space. If you are using liquid dewars it will take up the same floor space as the dewars.

How much does a nitrogen generator cost?

 Prices vary greatly from as low as $3000 to over a $1,000,000. Typically if you are consuming nitrogen on a continuous basis (70% of your day) a nitrogen generator will pay for itself in less than two years.

How much maintenance is required on a nitrogen generator?

 Normally 4000 hour filter changes are required on both membrane and PSA. PSA units require valve rebuilds every 24,000 hours.

I am just getting started, what information will I need?

  •  First you will need to know the following:
  •  What your current source of nitrogen is (cylinders; dewars; bulk liquid; new application)
  •  How quickly do you use the nitrogen (one cylinder per day?)
  •  What is the nitrogen pressure required?
  •  What is the nitrogen used for?
  •  From here we will be able to work with you to quickly size and price a nitrogen system for your application.

What is the life expectancy of a nitrogen generator?

 Just like any piece of equipment everything boils down to preventative maintenance. If routine maintenance is followed the systems should last for well over 15 years.

What type of generator do I need?

There are basically two technologies available, PSA and membrane. Flow rates, purities, and application will ultimately dictate whether a PSA or membrane is better “suited for the application”.