Cryogenic plants are a key element in the industrial gas industry, as they provide the adequate infrastructure for cryogenic gas processing and storage. In light of their importance, at Cryospain we want to share some keys about them, including what is a cryogenic plant and how cryogenic plants must be designed and implemented in order to fulfill their goals.
What is a cryogenic plant
A cryogenic gas plant is an industrial facility that allows for the processing and storage of cryogenic gases. This type of installation presents several specific requirements, among which the conservation of cold through efficient insulation system stands out.
Cryogenic plants typically present several functions including the liquefaction, cleaning and storage of gas. This is done through specific equipment that must be reliable, available at all times and, ideally, tailor-made for each company’s cryo plant needs.
Step by step design process for cryogenic plants
In order to carry out custom cryogenic plants, there are a number of steps that need to be completed:
- First of all, a preliminary analysis takes place. At this stage, our team of engineers carries out a complete study of the client’s needs.
- Design through our drafting department. The team conducts all the necessary processes of finite element calculations, with the goal of completing a project that is safe and follows the highest quality standards.
- After calculations are made, our drafting department carries out a 2D and 3D design of the entire plant, being able to virtually visualize what the plant will look like and what its dimensions will be.
- Our engineering department then carries out a complete study to determine the necessary elements for this plant, including all the equipment and accessories. This process also covers studying how to comply with the most demanding regulations in the industry.
- At this point, it’s essential that our engineering department is in continuous communication with the drafting team, providing guidance throughout the process in order to ensure the quality and safety of the design.
When designing cryogenic plants, the entire technical department must understand the design as a holistic process. At the same time, they must always keep the customer’s indications and premises in mind.
In fact, at Cryospain we put forward two production teams for our projects. These are in charge of drafting all the necessary parts for the production of the cryogenic plant. On the one hand, our installation department includes project managers and engineers, in charge of organizing and coordinating the complete installation of the cryo plant, from zero to turnkey.
On the other hand, we also offer complete maintenance services for each plant, in order to ensure its perfect operation at all times.
Types of cryogenic plants: what are the differences between them?
Cryogenic oxygen and nitrogen plants
Cryogenic plants for obtaining oxygen and nitrogen present a number of characteristics that are differentiated from other types of gas plant construction:
- The atmospheric air is mainly composed of oxygen and nitrogen, while other gases might be present in small quantities, including carbon dioxide, water steam, argon or helium.
- Compressed air is obtained by sucking in atmospheric air through a multi-stage compressor. Then, carbon dioxide, moisture and hydrocarbons are eliminated using inter-coolers, moisture separators and industrial refrigerators, a process that culminates in a Molecular Sieve Battery.
- At this stage, nitrogen and oxygen follow separate paths through heat exchangers. While oxygen is compressed and directly filled into cylinders, nitrogen will need a high-pressure compressor in order to complete the process.
- Pure air is thus obtained and cooled using nitrogen and oxygen. Then, there are two routes for this air: part of it goes through a second heat exchanger and the other part goes through an Expansion Engine, with the aim of producing additional cooling.
- An expansion valve is in charge of releasing the air, which has gone through a liquifying process.
- When oxygen and nitrogen need to be separated, the process involves distillation using a fractional column that makes use of the different boiling points presented by these elements. This column consists of two parts (lower and upper) and presents a condenser in the middle. Thus, pure Nitrogen moves up to the top of the upper column, while oxygen remains at the bottom.
Cryogenic natural gas plants
The LNG regasification satellite plants and NGV Stations (LNG and CNG) are the other types of cryo plant that Cryospain is able to design and implement.
The function of these cryogenic plants is to maintain a low temperature in order to keep these gases in a liquid state until they are used. For LNG, this means a temperature below -160 °C.
To minimize thermal losses, there’s a number of characteristics that these cryogenic plants must present, including a double wall that encloses an insulating material such as perlite and vacuum.
Later on, a vaporizer will be needed so that LNG can be used in its gaseous phase. This system’s size and operating methods will vary depending on each company’s needs. Besides, if the main application for LNG is converting into fuel for vehicles, cryogenic pumps may need to be installed.
Cryospain’s expertise in cryogenic plants
At Cryospain, design for cryogenic plants is carried out to provide a solution to each client’s needs, thus generating tailor-made facilities.
Through our dedicated teams, there are a number of different projects that we are able to undertake. First of all, we design, build, and commission high-pressure gas filling stations and mixing systems for different types of industrial and medicinal gas.
Secondly, we’re also ready to supply the necessary devices for the maintenance of the cylinders and equipment for the control of production traceability. Finally, we are also able to adapt plant operations to function in manual or automatic mode, according to the needs of each project and client.
Thus, thanks to our experts, we’re able to execute basic designs (P&ID, plant design, safety analysis, etc.) while also providing complete turnkey facilities and guaranteeing our filling stations and gas mixing systems comply with the strictest international standards and regulations.
Furthermore, our attention for each project includes the following considerations:
- Location for the cryogenic gas plant and its projected size
- The capacity it needs
- The client’s requirements or needs
- The type of gas or cryogenic gases it will process
- The potential specific regulations that the cryo plant may need to comply with.
In short, Cryospain provides high technology cryogenic engineering adapted to the needs of each project. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we work and discuss how we can help you build the cryogenic processing plant your company needs.