Future challenges in air separation


Air separation units (ASUs) are at the heart of the industrial gases business. Towering structures with clean lines and vast lengths of piping, these mega facilities are also synonymous with the image of the industry, just like the cryogenic tankers that ship the gases produced.

Oxygen, nitrogen and argon are the primary products of an ASU, but these facilities are integral to the production of all industrial gases. A cryogenic ASU exploits the fact that air can be cooled sufficiently for it to become a mixture of liquids and the difference in their boiling temperatures allows the component gases to be separated by distillation – ultimately producing an array of industrial and specialty gas products.

And the air separation unit has come a long way since it was first pioneered over a century ago. These huge feats of engineering are emerging around the world all of the time, in various configurations and ever-increasing capacities. This year alone has seen numerous significant ASU projects either completed or announced in a number of regional markets.

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