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What Is Nitrogen Gas Used For?

A bag of potato chips looks like nothing more than the chips and material used to make the bag. There’s the puff of air that sometimes bursts from the bag, but how many times have you ever taken notice of it? You may not realize this, but the air surrounding your potato chips is very important to their freshness and taste.

In fact, that air is mostly nitrogen gas and its use makes a huge difference in many industries — the food industry being one of them.

What Is Nitrogen Gas?

Nitrogen gas is one of the most abundant resources on the planet. It makes up around 70 percent of the air around us. What makes it so special is that it is a nearly inert gas that doesn’t react with other compounds in the air. Various industries take advantage of purified nitrogen’s inert characteristics and use the gas to their advantage.

What Is Nitrogen Gas Used for?

There are important nitrogen uses in multiple industries, from food safety to the production of surgical anesthesia. Here are a few of the commercial and industrial uses of nitrogen:

  • Pharmaceutical Industry: Pharmaceutical companies require high-quality refined nitrogen gas for use in synthesizing and storing medical-grade compounds.
  • Food Industry: Nitrogen gas is used to displace air in food packaging. The packaging air displacement removes oxygen, which can slow the process of food spoilage.
  • Metals Manufacturing: Some metals need to be produced in a de-oxygenated environment to prevent oxidation and the formation of different metals.
  • Petroleum Industry: The petroleum industry uses nitrogen gas to flush gases from large tanks to prepare them for oil storage. Nitrogen, being an inert substance, doesn’t react with oil and is safe to leave in the storage containers.
  • Materials Industry: In rubber and plastics production, nitrogen gas is cooled and used to freeze materials to make them brittle. They are then more easily broken and shaped into their final form.
  • Construction: When constructing pipelines in watery soil deep underground, construction companies will pass liquid nitrogen through the pipes to freeze the ground and make digging easier.

Delivery vs. On-Site Generation

Nitrogen gas applications are seemingly endless and have an even wider range of uses than we can cover here. For this reason, some companies that use nitrogen gas in large volumes opt to invest in an on-site nitrogen generation system.

On-site nitrogen generation systems are easy to handle, require little maintenance and provide gas as needed. Nitrogen gas delivery, on the other hand, can be expensive and needs larger amounts of storage space.

While delivery may be a suitable option for companies that use nitrogen sparingly, it is usually better for companies that use large volumes of nitrogen to invest in on-site nitrogen systems.

What Is a Nitrogen Generator?

An on-site generator is a cost-effective nitrogen gas-generating machine that produces gas on demand. This process can be either through pressure swing adsorption (PSA) or by membrane filtration. Nitrogen generators can be stored on a skid and placed on a factory floor. This uses less space than gas cylinders, which need large amounts of storage space.

NiGen is a leader in the nitrogen gas generation industry, producing custom-made nitrogen generation systems since 1999. If you are looking to switch to on-site nitrogen generation or need more information on nitrogen production, contact us today.