Industries engaged in manufacturing and other similar businesses require industrial gases which produced via an air separation plant. There is no denying the fact that industrial gas is a growing industry as manufacturing is picking up in countries like China, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa with India leading the pack. Obviously, there will be high market demand for air separation unit for meeting the requirements of the growing industry. Several technologies are used for air separation important one’s being cryogenic distillation and pressure swing adsorption (PSA). Both the techniques are effective for meeting the requirements of industries.
Mainly, oxygen and nitrogen are two of the most important gases that are used in wide range of industries. Important applications of oxygen include industries such as metallurgy, steel-making, fishing, medical, paper & pulp, heating, cutting and welding. Similarly, nitrogen is also extensively used for its inert properties in industries including food packaging, oil refineries, and steel-making. It is also used in the making of ammonia, which is used for production of fertilizers. Air separation plant/unit can be used for generating oxygen, nitrogen and argon. What is more, it can co-produce oxygen along with nitrogen.
Air separation plant takes air from the atmosphere into the air separation unit where the air is compressed. Thereafter, the air is moved into a cleanup system where impurities like moisture, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide are removed. At this point, the air is moved into a heat exchanger where the air is cooled to cryogenic temperature. Now, the air is directed into a high pressure distillation column where air is separated into oxygen and nitrogen. At the top of the column, oxygen is formed in its vaporous form with nitrogen forming at the bottom of the column. Individual gases, namely, oxygen and nitrogen are further distilled in the low pressure distillation column.