Nitrogen is an inert gas that is abundant in the atmosphere and plays a vital role in numerous industries and applications, including food and pharma. On-site nitrogen (N2) generation is an alternative to prefilled liquid nitrogen tanks that can deliver a variety of benefits to businesses that rely on nitrogen. N2 generators can provide usable nitrogen from the earth’s atmosphere without the need for liquid nitrogen tank delivery.
What Are Nitrogen Generators?
Nitrogen generators are a cost-effective alternative to nitrogen tank delivery services. A nitrogen generator mechanically separates nitrogen from oxygen and contaminants in the atmosphere, expelling the oxygen and storing the nitrogen for future use. Nitrogen generators achieve this through two mechanical processes; pressure swing adsorption (PSA) or membrane technology.
PSA N2 generators use carbon molecular sieves enclosed in two towers to absorb oxygen and other gasses from pre-treated air pumps. Larger nitrogen molecules pass through the molecular sieves, and the undesirable gasses with smaller molecules enter the sieves. As the tower transitions to regenerative mode, it expels the gasses and contaminants, keeping only the nitrogen.
Membrane N2 generators use selective permeation to collect naturally abundant nitrogen molecules from the air. Compressed air pumps through the hollow membrane fibers and filters oxygen and water vapor, passing the nitrogen onto a pressurized distribution system. Employing either PSA or membrane N2 generators on-site can provide a variety of advantages to the user.
Benefits of Nitrogen Generators
Industries that use nitrogen rely on nitrogen systems supplied by prefilled tanks of nitrogen. When a business decides to switch to an N2 generator, they receive a variety of benefits. N2 generation on-site can be more environmentally friendly and allows businesses to be more resilient to price swings in liquid nitrogen, no longer dependent on nitrogen delivery.
N2 generators can provide substantial savings to businesses that choose to invest in the system. The initial investment in an N2 generator can be offset by a variety of savings in as little as 24 months, only requiring energy and maintenance costs.
N2 generation prices can be as low as $0.11 per hundred cubic feet or $0.21 per hundred cubic feet when factoring in the initial investment for the first 24 months. Liquid nitrogen delivery can cost between $0.35 per hundred cubic feet to as much as $3.00 per hundred cubic feet if there is a high price swing.
N2 generators also reduce injury risk to workers by avoiding the use of liquid nitrogen tanks. Liquid nitrogen can reach temperatures of -320 °F, resulting in serious exposure risks. These advantages make N2 generators ideal for a variety of applications.
Nitrogen Generator Applications
Industries rely on nitrogen for everything from laboratory instruments to food packaging systems. N2 generators can replace liquid nitrogen tanks in many applications, improving safety and lowering cost. Prototyping and manufacturing applications such as 3D printing use nitrogen for cooling. Laboratories use nitrogen as an inert substance in liquid and gas chromatography instruments. Nitrogen is widely used for laser cutting as it ensures a very high accuracy in the cutting process and prevents oxidation.
Ethanol production requires large amounts of nitrogen, and switching to N2 generators can reduce costs and improve safety. Nitrogen is essential to plastic production and metal extrusion. Nitrogen also plays a role in packaging cold foods.
Airmatic Compressor’s N2 Generators
At Airmatic Compressor, we supply sales, service, and installation of N2 generators. We offer two types of N2 generators from Atlas Copco, one of the most well-known compressor manufacturers in the United States. The Atlas Copco NGM is a membrane N2 generator that quietly delivers compressed nitrogen. It has a small footprint and can be fed dry compressed air stream. The Atlas Copco NGP uses pressure swing adsorption to deliver more pure nitrogen with up to 99.999% purity.
Nitrogen generators are powered by a clean compressed air supply from either an existing in plant compressed air system with enough extra capacity or a dedicated compressor can be provided.
Depend on Airmatic Compressor for Your N2 Generators
N2 generation is safe, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive compared to nitrogen tank delivery. A variety of industries and applications improve their efficiency and lower their costs with on-site N2 generation. At Airmatic Compressor, we offer high-quality N2 generators from Atlas Copco. Contact us to learn more about our products or request a quote to get started.