Onsite industrial gas production solves the client's requirements by providing a constant, autonomous oxygen or nitrogen gas source. Partnering with Gas Generation Australia will ensure your investment improves onsite plant safety, reduces operating costs, reduces environmental impacts, and mitigates logistics or supply chain failures.

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PSA and Membrane Separation Technology Unpacked

PSA and membrane generators use separation technology to extract gases such as oxygen and nitrogen from ambient air. Air comprises of 21 % oxygen, 78% nitrogen, 0.9 % argon and 0.1 % rare gases. Both PSA and membrane technology use the physical properties of the desired gas, either through adsorption or diffusion, to separate it from the air and provide a consistent, reliable gas supply.

Pressure Swing Adsorption Separation

The air separation process of PSA generators is based on the principle of selective adsorption. Each gas has a characteristic adsorption rate that determines its ability to be held by the adsorbent medium.

PSA separation is better suited to high purity lower volume requirements. The vessels in which the nitrogen and oxygen separation takes place contains an adsorbent filter medium to hold unwanted gas.

In the PSA generation process the gases are:

  • Separated under the alternating pressurisation of two tanks filled with molecular sieve. Zeolite for oxygen generation and activated carbon for nitrogen generation.
  • The gas production process starts by pressurising one of the adsorption vessels with clean feed air.
  • Adsorption of the unwanted gas occurs when high pressure is reached, and that gas is trapped by the absorbent surface of the filter medium until it reaches saturation. The system then directs the compressed air to the second vessel to start the adsorption process.
  • The first vessel is regenerated by dropping the pressure which releases the unwanted gas.
  • The adsorption vessels are alternatively pressurised and depressurised to guarantee a continuous product flow.

Membrane Separation

The air separation process of membrane generators is based on the principle of selective permeation. Each gas has a characteristic permeation rate that determines its ability to dissolve and diffuse through a membrane. Membrane separation is better suited to high volume, low purity requirements. The module in which the nitrogen and oxygen separation takes place is a cylindrical bundle of hollow fibre membranes.

How membrane nitrogen generators produce nitrogen and how oxygen generators produced oxygen.

In the generation process using membrane separation:

  • Pressurised air enters one end of the fibres and flows to the opposite end of the module through the fibre bores. Gas separation takes place as the pressurised air contacts the membranes.
  • “Fast” gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapour quickly permeate through the fibre walls and exit at the vent port on the side of the module case.
  • Nitrogen, a slower gas, does not permeate through the fibre as quickly under flowing conditions. It flows down the bore of the fibres and exits at the end of the high-pressure shell.

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