The fact that UHP nitrogen is commonly discussed is testament of the increasing importance of this substance in a number of industries. 

Nitrogen is, in fact, one of the most used technical gasses. However, the truth is different applications of it require different grades and purity levels to achieve the desired goals. 

Keep reading to learn more about UHP N2 including its multiple uses and the system to determine high purity gases in the case of nitrogen, as well as the most efficient ways to store and transport it.

What is UHP nitrogen (Ultra-High Purity Nitrogen Gas)?

The term UHP nitrogen describes ultra-high purity nitrogen, a high-quality grade of nitrogen gas.

Purity levels are defined by the percentage of pure nitrogen gas in the process stream, as opposed to the level of impurities or contaminants (including water vapor, oxygen, argon or carbon dioxide). The presence of these substances might make nitrogen unsuitable for particular uses and industries, hence the need to obtain UHP nitrogen. As such, UHP nitrogen presents a low level of impurities, namely less than one part per billion or ppb. In other words, its nitrogen content must be 99.999%+.

How does the nitrogen gas purity classification process work?

Nitrogen purity levels are determined through a series of processes, which include the use of chromatography or other analytical techniques, including a gas analyzer, an instrument that shows nitrogen purity as parts per million.

This operation can be performed before allowing the substance to enter a pipe network or other spaces where UHP nitrogen is required. 

Additionally, the process to obtain  UHP nitrogen involves the use of complex gas processing techniques such as pressure swing adsorption (PSA) and membrane separation.

Keep reading: Nitrogen uses in the cryogenic industry

Types of Nitrogen Purity Levels

Ultra-High Purity (UHP) Nitrogen Gas

Ultra High Purity Nitrogen (UHPN) typically contains between 99.9999% to 99.99999% nitrogen, with impurities typically in the parts per billion (ppb) range. This grade of nitrogen is used in applications such as semiconductor manufacturing or pharmaceutical production.

Low Purity Nitrogen Gas

The following classification can be made among the different forms of low purity nitrogen gas:

  • Compressed Air contains a mixture of gasses, including nitrogen, oxygen, and trace amounts of other gasses such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and hydrocarbons. It’s not suitable for most industrial applications requiring pure nitrogen gas.
  • Commercial Grade Nitrogen (CGN) typically contains between 95% to 99.999% nitrogen, with the remaining percentage being made up of impurities such as oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, and other trace gasses. This grade of nitrogen is suitable for a wide range of industrial applications.
  • High Purity Nitrogen (HPN) typically contains between 99.999% to 99.9999% nitrogen, with impurities typically in the parts per million (ppm) range. This grade of nitrogen is commonly used for electronics manufacturing or laboratory testing, among other applications.

Which industries use UHP nitrogen?

UHP nitrogen can improve performance, increase safety, and reduce contamination risk in cryogenic applications. 

UHP nitrogen is commonly used in industries where even the slightest impurities in the gas stream can have a detrimental effect on the end product. This includes some key industries at a global level, including: 

  • Electronics: UHP nitrogen is used to prevent oxidation and to create a controlled atmosphere during assembly. 
  • Semiconductor manufacturing: this substance helps create a controlled environment and inert atmosphere during the fabrication process, among other operations.
  • Pharmaceutics: UHP nitrogen helps prevent contamination and oxidation during the production of drugs and other pharmaceutical products. 
  • Food and Beverages: food-grade UHP nitrogen prevents oxidation and contamination during the production of food and beverages. It’s also used to displace oxygen in packaging in order to extend the shelf life of products such as snack foods, wine, and beer.
  • Aerospace: the substance is used to create a controlled environment during the manufacture and testing of sensitive equipment and components, among other applications related to critical components.
  • Oil industry: this industry employs nitrogen gas to purge pipelines and storage tanks, minimizing the risk of accidents due to spontaneous combustion.

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Cryospain, advanced technology for UHP nitrogen storage

Cryospain specializes in the design, manufacturing, and installation of cryogenic systems, guaranteeing the required low temperatures to store and manipulate UHP nitrogen in a safe and efficient manner. 

Among our key equipment related to UHP nitrogen, we provide cryogenic tanks for pressurized storage, as well as high-pressure gas filling plants and stations. As such, we take care of designing, building and deploying state-of-the-art cryogenic engineering solutions that fit the needs of each project. This includes the development of tailor-made cryogenic equipment

Such is the case of our Flat Bottom Cryogenic Tank project in Taiwan: devised to provide aid in their state-of-the-art microchips factories, we designed a tank not only complied with the strictest cleanliness standards and the need for particularly small equipment, but also guarantee safety considering this location is a highly seismic area.

Get in touch with us and learn more about UHP nitrogen and how we can help you.

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