Nitrogen Generators

Atlas Copco Nitrogen Generators

When compared with traditional delivery of nitrogen bottles or a bulk tank top up, on site nitrogen generation can be done at a fraction of the cost by using either excess capacity from your existing compressed air supply, or a stand alone system.

At Design Air we can help you determine if an on site nitrogen generation is right for you, and how much costs savings you could achieve by doing so.

Contact us for more information

How do I Determine if On Site Nitrogen Generation is Worth it?

Determine Your Average Nitrogen Usage / Flowrate

The first step to determine if on site Nitrogen Generation is worth while for you is to try and determine how much Nitrogen you are using.  An easy and quick way to determine your average usage is to tally up the total m3 of Nitrogen you have used over a given period of time (either add up the total m3 of bottles used or look on your bill for total delivered m3) and divide this by the total number of hours nitrogen was in use over this period.

So for example, lets say you used 2 x 146m3 bottle banks per week for a laser cutter and the Nitrogen was in use 8am-5pm Monday to Friday. This would equate to an average usage of 292m3 / (9hrs x 5 days)  = 6.48m3/hr average nitrogen usage.

Calculate Your Existing Nitrogen Supply Costs

Next, you should try to determine how much you are currently spending with your Nitrogen gas supplier per month on average.

This should be easy enough to determine by reviewing the regular bills you receive from your Nitrogen gas supplier. Typically, you will find that you incur;

  • Costs for Nitrogen Gas Supply (cost per m3)
  • Rental Costs for Bottle Banks / Bulk Storage System
  • Delivery Costs

So for our example above of using 1 x bottle bank per week, over one month, you could be looking at;

  • £5,920 for 8 x Nitrogen Bottle Bank (2 per week)
  • £644 for monthly rental of Nitrogen Bottle Bank
  • £420 for delivery / uplift of 4 x Nitrogen Bottle Banks

So you could be looking at a monthly cost of £6,984 per month and £83,808 per year based on our example to buy in 2 x Nitrogen MCP per week (accurate as of April 2024).

Specify a Suitable Nitrogen Generation Package and Determine Savings / Return on Investment

The final step should be to get in touch with us with your findings. This along with some information on the process that uses Nitrogen should help us to very quickly specify and quote for a suitable Nitrogen generation system. This information will also help us to determine what your annual running costs would be for our offered system and as a result what your expected return on investment will be.

Continuing our example above and assuming you are cutting at a purity of 99.99% nitrogen, we would recommend an Atlas Copco HPN2 Skid 7 High Pressure Nitrogen Skid. Average electrical running costs would be no more than approx £7,500 per year (based on 25p/kwhr) and maintenance costs approx £10,000 per year. So total operational costs would be £17,500 per year giving you an annual saving of £66,308 per year. Return on investment would be in approx 1.5 years based on current pricing. Alternatively, we can help you finance your system, making an operational cost saving from day 1!

Why Choose Design Air For Your On Site Nitrogen Generation

On Site Nitrogen Generation Feasibility Study

From the very start, Design Air will help you to determine;

  • How much nitrogen you are consuming on average (nitrogen flowrate)
  • If a Nitrogen Generator can achieve your required purity / pressure
  • If you have a sufficient compressed air supply in place
  • How much you are currently spending / year on bottles or top ups
  • Potential Costs savings you would achieve through on site nitrogen generation
  • How quickly generating your own Nitrogen will yield a return on your initial investment

Pay monthly for On Site Nitrogen Generation

At Design Air, we can be flexible to meet your payment requirements. We appreciate that purchasing an Atlas Copco Nitrogen Generator is a long term investment, so we can help you finance your purchase over 3-60 months

Instead of waiting for a return on your investment, make a saving immediately. We can demonstrate that your monthly payments will be lower than the cost savings your new Nitrogen Generator will provide, meaning you make a saving from month 1!

Lowest Total Cost of Ownership

Once you have purchased and installed your new nitrogen generator, ultimately the biggest cost going forward is in the electrical energy required to generate the compressed air supply.

Atlas Copco Nitrogen Generators have some of the lowest air to nitrogen ratios available on the market. I.e. they use less air than competitive equivalents to produce the same nitrogen flow!

As a result, purchase of an Atlas Copco generator will help ensure the lowest total cost of ownership

Our Range of Atlas Copco Nitrogen Generators

Atlas Copco Membrane Nitrogen Generators

(NGM Range)

  • 95 - 99.5% Purity Range
  • 5.8 - 306.3 m3/hr Flow Range
View Brochures

Atlas Copco PSA Nitrogen Generators

(NGP Range)

  • 95 - 99.999% Purity Range
  • 5 - 1,499 m3/hr Flow Range
View Brochures

Atlas Copco High Pressure Nitrogen Skids

(HPN2 Range)

  • 95 - 99.999% Purity Range
  • 9.9 - 101 m3/hr Flow Range
  • 40 - 300bar(g)
View Brochures

Nitrogen Generator FAQs?

On-site nitrogen generation, particularly through nitrogen generators, offers a plethora of advantages across various industries. Optimised for efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness, these systems revolutionise nitrogen supply, providing a steady stream of high-purity nitrogen gas tailored to specific needs. Let’s delve into the benefits:

1. Cost Efficiency: On-site nitrogen generation eliminates the need for purchasing nitrogen cylinders or liquid deliveries and eliminates the hassle of managing rental contracts and delivery schedules. With a nitrogen generator, businesses can significantly reduce their nitrogen costs by producing gas on-demand at a fraction of the cost of traditional supply methods. This cost saving becomes even more pronounced over time as the initial investment in the generator is quickly offset by the reduced operational expenses.

2. On-Demand Production: Nitrogen generators offer the flexibility of producing nitrogen gas as needed, eliminating the need for bulk storage and minimizing the risk of running out of gas. Whether it’s a continuous manufacturing process or intermittent usage, on-site generation ensures a constant and reliable nitrogen supply, reducing downtime and optimizing production efficiency. Moreover, users have full control over the flow rate and purity of the generated nitrogen, allowing them to adjust output according to specific requirements.

3. High-Purity Output: Modern nitrogen generators are capable of producing nitrogen gas with purity levels ranging from 95% to 99.999%, meeting the stringent demands of various applications. Whether it’s food packaging, electronics manufacturing, or pharmaceutical production, the high-purity nitrogen generated on-site ensures product quality, consistency, and compliance with industry standards. With advanced filtration and separation technologies, nitrogen generators can remove impurities and contaminants from the air, delivering ultra-pure nitrogen suitable for even the most sensitive processes.

4. Environmental Sustainability: On-site nitrogen generation offers environmental benefits by reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation, storage, and disposal of nitrogen cylinders. By producing nitrogen gas on-site, businesses minimize the need for fossil fuel-powered delivery trucks and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, nitrogen generators consume less energy compared to traditional cryogenic separation methods, further enhancing their environmental sustainability. As businesses increasingly prioritize sustainability and corporate social responsibility, on-site nitrogen generation emerges as a green solution for nitrogen supply.

5. Space Optimisation: Nitrogen generators are compact and space-efficient, making them ideal for installations where space is limited. Unlike bulky nitrogen cylinders or cryogenic tanks, which require dedicated storage areas and safety precautions, nitrogen generators can be installed on-site, indoors or outdoors, without occupying valuable floor space. This compact footprint not only reduces storage costs but also enhances workplace safety and organisation.

6. Minimal Maintenance Requirements: Modern nitrogen generators are designed for reliability and ease of maintenance, requiring minimal upkeep compared to traditional nitrogen supply systems. With robust construction and automated operation, nitrogen generators have fewer moving parts and lower susceptibility to mechanical failures, reducing downtime and maintenance costs. Routine maintenance tasks such as filter replacement, membrane cleaning, and system checks can be easily performed by trained personnel, ensuring continuous operation and optimal performance.

In conclusion, on-site nitrogen generation optimised for nitrogen generators offers a multitude of benefits, including cost efficiency, on-demand production, high-purity output, environmental sustainability, space optimization, and minimal maintenance requirements. By harnessing the power of nitrogen generation technology, businesses can enhance their operations, improve productivity, and achieve greater efficiency in nitrogen supply management.

What is a Nitrogen Generator?

A nitrogen generator is a device designed to produce high-purity nitrogen gas from ambient air. It’s an efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional methods of nitrogen supply such as cylinders or liquid nitrogen.

How Does a Nitrogen Generator Work?

  1. Air Filtration: The process begins with the intake of ambient air, which contains approximately 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, along with trace amounts of other gases. This air is drawn into the nitrogen generator through an inlet filter to remove dust, particles, and moisture.
  2. Compression: The filtered air is then compressed to increase its pressure. Compression raises the concentration of nitrogen while reducing the concentration of other gases, particularly oxygen.
  3. Separation: The compressed air is directed into a separation module, typically containing a specialized membrane or adsorbent material. This module exploits the differences in the size and solubility of nitrogen and oxygen molecules to selectively separate them.
    • Membrane Separation: In membrane nitrogen generators, the compressed air is passed through semi-permeable membranes. These membranes allow smaller oxygen molecules to permeate through more readily than larger nitrogen molecules, resulting in a stream of nitrogen-enriched gas on one side and oxygen-enriched gas on the other.
    • Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA): In PSA nitrogen generators, the separation module contains beds of adsorbent material, usually carbon molecular sieves or zeolites. Compressed air is directed through these beds under pressure. The adsorbent material selectively adsorbs oxygen molecules, allowing nitrogen to pass through as the product gas.
  4. Product Gas Output: After separation, the nitrogen-enriched gas is collected as the product gas. This gas typically has a purity level ranging from 95% to 99.999%, depending on the specific requirements of the application.
  5. Purge Cycle (for PSA generators): In PSA nitrogen generators, the adsorbent beds become saturated with oxygen over time. To regenerate the beds and maintain continuous nitrogen production, a portion of the produced nitrogen is used to purge the adsorbent material, flushing out the adsorbed oxygen. This purge gas is released into the atmosphere, and the process cycle repeats.

Nitrogen generators play a crucial role across a wide range of industries, offering a reliable and cost-effective source of high-purity nitrogen gas. Here are some common applications:

1. Food Packaging: Nitrogen is extensively used in the food packaging industry to displace oxygen and create a modified atmosphere within packages. By reducing oxygen levels, nitrogen helps to slow down the oxidation process, extending the shelf life of perishable foods such as snacks, nuts, coffee, and fresh produce. This preservation technique helps maintain the freshness, flavor, and quality of packaged foods without the need for additives or preservatives.

2. Electronics Manufacturing: In electronics manufacturing processes such as soldering and wave soldering, nitrogen is used as a shielding gas to prevent oxidation and improve solder joint quality. By displacing oxygen and moisture from the soldering environment, nitrogen helps reduce the formation of oxides on electronic components, ensuring reliable and durable connections. Nitrogen is also employed in the production of printed circuit boards (PCBs) to create an inert atmosphere, preventing surface oxidation and enhancing solderability.

3. Laser Cutting and Welding: Nitrogen is widely used as an assist gas in laser cutting and welding applications. When directed onto the cutting or welding zone, nitrogen helps to blow away molten metal and prevent oxidation, resulting in clean, precise cuts and welds with minimal heat-affected zones. Nitrogen’s inert properties make it particularly suitable for cutting and welding stainless steel, aluminum, and other reactive metals where oxide formation must be minimized to maintain surface quality and integrity.

4. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: In the pharmaceutical industry, nitrogen is employed for various applications such as blanketing, purging, and inerting. Nitrogen is used to create inert atmospheres in storage vessels, reactors, and packaging lines to prevent oxidative degradation and maintain product stability. Additionally, nitrogen is utilized in the formulation of pharmaceutical products, particularly those sensitive to moisture and oxidation, to ensure quality, purity, and shelf-life stability.

5. Chemical Processing: Nitrogen plays a critical role in chemical processing applications where inert atmospheres are required to prevent undesired reactions, protect sensitive materials, and maintain product quality. In chemical reactors, storage tanks, and pipelines, nitrogen is used as a blanketing gas to displace air and create oxygen-free environments, reducing the risk of fire, explosion, and product degradation. Nitrogen is also employed in the production of specialty chemicals, polymers, and pharmaceutical intermediates to control reactions, facilitate purification, and improve yield.

6. Oil & Gas Industry: In the oil and gas industry, nitrogen is utilized for various well stimulation, pressure testing, and purging applications. Nitrogen is injected into oil and gas wells to enhance production rates by stimulating reservoir pressure, displacing formation fluids, and reducing gas coning. Nitrogen is also used for pressure testing pipelines, wellheads, and storage tanks to verify integrity and detect leaks. Moreover, nitrogen is employed as a purging gas during pipeline maintenance, commissioning, and decommissioning to remove flammable or hazardous gases and create safe working environments.

7. Laboratory and Analytical Instrumentation: In laboratories and analytical facilities, nitrogen generators provide a convenient and reliable source of high-purity nitrogen gas for various applications. Nitrogen is used as a carrier gas in gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) systems for sample analysis and separation. Additionally, nitrogen is utilized as a purge gas in analytical instruments to create clean, dry environments, prevent sample contamination, and enhance instrument performance.

In summary, nitrogen generators are versatile tools that find widespread use in industries ranging from food packaging and electronics manufacturing to pharmaceuticals, chemical processing, oil and gas, and laboratory research. By providing an on-demand source of high-purity nitrogen gas, nitrogen generators offer numerous benefits including cost savings, process efficiency, product quality, and environmental sustainability.

Nitrogen generators offer a cost-effective solution for businesses requiring a steady supply of high-purity nitrogen gas. While the initial investment in a nitrogen generator is a significant consideration, it’s essential to understand the ongoing running costs associated with these systems. Optimized for efficiency and reliability, nitrogen generators offer several advantages that translate into long-term cost savings. Let’s delve into the key factors influencing the running costs:

1. Energy Consumption: The primary ongoing cost associated with operating a nitrogen generator is energy consumption. Nitrogen generators typically require electricity to power the compressors, filtration systems, and other components involved in the gas separation process. However, modern nitrogen generators are designed with energy efficiency in mind, utilizing advanced technologies such as variable speed drives (VSD) and intelligent control systems to optimize energy usage. By matching energy consumption to actual demand and operating conditions, these systems minimize wasted energy, resulting in lower electricity bills and reduced running costs over time.

2. Maintenance and Service: Another consideration for running costs is maintenance and service expenses. While nitrogen generators require periodic maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity, modern systems are engineered for reliability and ease of maintenance. Routine maintenance tasks may include filter replacements, membrane cleaning (for membrane-based generators), system checks, and calibration of monitoring and control equipment. By adhering to a regular maintenance schedule and promptly addressing any issues, businesses can minimize downtime, maximize uptime, and extend the lifespan of their nitrogen generator, ultimately reducing maintenance costs.

3. Consumables and Spare Parts: Nitrogen generators may require the periodic replacement of consumable components such as filters, adsorbent materials, seals, and O-rings. Additionally, spare parts may be needed for repairs or component replacements in the event of wear or damage. While these consumables and spare parts contribute to running costs, their frequency of replacement and associated expenses can vary depending on the type and model of the nitrogen generator, as well as the operating conditions and maintenance practices. Choosing a reputable supplier and quality components can help mitigate these costs while ensuring reliable performance and longevity.

4. Nitrogen Purity and Efficiency: The purity level of the nitrogen produced by the generator can also impact running costs. Higher purity requirements may necessitate additional purification steps or more energy-intensive separation processes, leading to increased energy consumption and operating costs. Conversely, optimizing the nitrogen generator for efficiency, such as adjusting operating parameters, flow rates, and purity levels to match specific application requirements, can help minimize running costs without compromising performance or quality. By striking the right balance between purity and efficiency, businesses can achieve cost-effective nitrogen production tailored to their needs.

5. Lifecycle Costs: When evaluating the running costs of a nitrogen generator, it’s essential to consider the total lifecycle costs over the system’s operational lifespan. While upfront capital expenditures are significant, the total cost of ownership includes ongoing running costs, maintenance expenses, energy consumption, and potential upgrades or replacements over time. By conducting a comprehensive cost analysis and factoring in these lifecycle costs, businesses can make informed decisions regarding the most economical nitrogen generation solution for their operations.

In conclusion, the running costs of a nitrogen generator are influenced by various factors, including energy consumption, maintenance and service requirements, consumables and spare parts, nitrogen purity, and lifecycle considerations. By optimizing operational efficiency, implementing proactive maintenance practices, and carefully managing operating parameters, businesses can minimize running costs and maximize the long-term value of their nitrogen generation investment.

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For a quote on any of our services, get in touch with a friendly member of the team today and we’ll be happy to discuss your requirements.

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