Important features of Liquid oxygen plant .pdf
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Important features of Liquid oxygen plant
Oxygen is the second largest constituent element of the atmosphere. It comprises around 20.8% of the
atmosphere. It is highly reactive, colorless, tasteless and odorless gas. In its liquid form, oxygen is pale
blue and is very cold. Though it is non-flammable but it supports combustion. It is a strong oxidizer and
sustains burning processes. Being highly reactive, oxygen reacts with all organic materials and metals
except noble gases. Any substance that burns in air will burn furiously in oxygen. Liquid oxygen (LOX) is
generated in a liquid oxygen plant based on cryogenic distillation process. Important features of a liquid
oxygen plant are described in the following sub-headings:
Important features of liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen is a cryogenic liquid. Liquefied gases having normal boiling point below -90 degrees
Celsius are called cryogenic liquids. Liquid oxygen has a boiling point of -183 degree Celsius. Any
equipment used for handling or holding oxygen must be built with materials having high ignition
temperatures and non-reactive with oxygen under the service conditions. Oxygen cylinders or tanks
must be constructed in line with American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) codes and must
design to withstand the process temperatures and pressures.
Liquid oxygen needs special equipment for handling and storage. As the temperature difference
between LOX and the surroundings is substantial, it is mandatory to keep liquid oxygen insulated from
the surrounding heat. Though oxygen is a gas but it is often stored as a liquid. Liquid storage is
economical as well as less bulky than the high-pressure gaseous storage of equivalent storage. Cryogenic
storage comprises of a cryogenic storage tank, one or more vaporizers and a pressure control system.
How liquid oxygen is manufactured?
An air separation unit is used for producing oxygen by liquefying atmospheric air. Oxygen is, then,
separated by continuous cryogenic distillation. The oxygen is, then, removed and stored as a cryogenic
liquid. A liquid oxygen plant is based on this process. However, oxygen can also be produced noncryogenically using selective adsorption processes to generate gaseous products. The ASU
manufacturing process starts with the main air compressor and is finished at the output of the product
storage tanks. During the process, air is compressed and sent through a cleanup system where
impurities such as moisture, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons are eliminated. Then, the air is passed
through heat exchangers where it is cooled to cryogenic temperatures. Afterwards, the air is made to go
inside a high pressure distillation column where it is physically separated into a vaporous of nitrogen at
the top of the column and a liquid form of crude oxygen at the bottom. The crude oxygen is removed
from the column and is directed to a low pressure column, where it is distilled until it meets commercial
specifications. Then, the liquid oxygen directed to a cryogenic tank for storage.
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