structure of almost all neurotransmitters, or in other words, nitrogen is an important chemical in the thinking process, and as you read this article you are utilizing nitrogen to connect cognitive thought patterns via synapses in your brain.
The bulk of nitrogen produced in the United States is done via cryogenic separation of air. Air is supercooled to a liquid state, and the different gases stratify, just as water and oil do in a glass. Nitrogen is then pulled out as a liquid. Air separation plants can be large facilities serving multiple customers usually covering several states, or site specific for large users of nitrogen. Cryogenic nitrogen purity can vary depending upon need, but can hold in the ppb (parts per billion) of contaminant gases.
A method of Nitrogen production gaining rapid favor for its ease of installation and relatively low cost are nitrogen generators that separate the nitrogen from air in the gaseous phase, either through the use of a membrane, or via pressure swing adsorption (similar to regenerative air dryers). These units are fairly small in size and production volumes (roughly 100-10,000 scfh per system), but can be 1/10th to 1/100th the cost of a cryogenic separation plant. However, gaseous nitrogen generators don’t produce pure nitrogen – they actually remove oxygen. So while the oxygen content can reach less than 10ppm, there will still be other gases present in the nitrogen that are also present in air – gases like argon, helium, carbon dioxide, etc. In many applications, this is acceptable, as the nitrogen is being used because oxygen cannot be present in the process.
Safety, Storage & Handling:
Nitrogen is commonly stored in high pressure cylinders, tubes or tube trailers. Liquide nitrogen is commonly stored at the consumer site in cryogenic liquid cylinders and specifically designed vacuum-insulated storage tanks. All of the precautions necessary for the handling of any nonflammable gas or cryogenic liquid must be taken.
If levels of nitrogen become too high in confined spaces it can cause asphyxiation, leading to unconsciousness or death. Therefore, all nitrogen compression equipment must be located in a well ventilated area. We urge you to review local and regional safety standards to ensure safety compliancy.
To dispose of nitrogen gas, vent the N2 slowly to a well-ventilated outdoor location remote from personal work areas and building air intakes. For liquid nitrogen, allow it to evaporate in a similar location. Liquid nitrogen boils at -320oF, so any temperature above that will be sufficient.