May 2014


What every refiner should know about nitrogen generation and delivery

Generating N2 on-demand is a sustainable and energy-efficient approach.

Connaughton, D., Parker Hannifin

Nitrogen (N2) is often used in refineries to blanket tanks and reduce the chance of fire or explosion. This gas is the second highest volume chemical produced in the world by pound, just behind sulfuric acid and ahead of ethylene. Thus, N2 accounts for a considerable amount of energy used in the chemical/petrochemical industry. New low-energy, on-demand N2 production methods are becoming more common; all are in an effort to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. Most N2 is produced by the cryogenic fractional distillation of liquefied air in large commercial air separation plants (Fig. 1). Cryogenic distillation accounts for about 70% of total N2 production. The commercial method for air s

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