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Packaged air separation plants

Packaged air separation plants are standard and modularly designed plants with a daily capacity of 850 tpd (approx. 25,000 Nm3/h) of oxygen (GOX and LOX), 2,000 tpd (approx. 66,000 Nm3/h) of nitrogen (GAN and LIN) and argon (GAr and LAr). The plant modules are pre-fabricated in the workshop to the maximum extent possible.
 
Linde draws on its extensive know-how in air separation plant operation to select the process that best meets the customer’s requirements. All state-of-the-art air separation technologies such as internal compression for GOX and GAN and cryogenic argon production are available.
 
The schematic illustration below shows a typical configuration of a packaged air separation plant. Air is drawn through an air filter to remove dust and other particles before it enters the main air compressor. Downstream from the main compressor the air enters the process air cooling stage. Here it is washed and cooled in countercurrent against a stream of water. This washing process also removes harmful components of the process air such as SO2, SO3 and NH3.
 
Remaining contaminants in the process air such as water vapour, CO2, N2O and potentially hazardous hydrocarbons are adsorbed from the air by passing it through one of the two molecular sieve adsorbers. One adsorber is in operation while the other is in regeneration mode.
 
After further cooling the dry, pure air in the main heat exchanger, the air enters the pressure column where it is separated into pure nitrogen. The nitrogen is yielded from the top, and oxygen enriched liquid collects at the bottom. The required reflux for rectification is provided by condensation of gaseous nitrogen against boiling oxygen in the condenser/reboiler.
 
A part of the liquid nitrogen is used as reflux for the pressure column. The rest is sub-cooled and passed to the top of the low-pressure column. Liquid nitrogen for the customer is then drawn off and sent out to the LIN tank.
 
Liquid oxygen is taken from the bath of the condenser and fed to the LOX tank. Liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen are pumped through the main heat exchanger and vaporised at the customer´s specified gas pressure for GOX and GAN.
 
Refrigeration needs of the plant necessitated by insulation losses, heat exchanger losses and removal of cold liquids from the low-temperature section are mainly met by isentropic expansion of air in the expansion turbine.

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