Messer has announced that it has started-up a plant for the production of the noble gases krypton and xenon.

Germany-based Messer began producing the noble gases krypton and xenon at a new production plant in November.

The company, the largest privately run industrial gases specialist, notes that a sophisticated process extracts the rare gases from the air, which are mainly used as lamp fill gas.

The plant is operated by Messer’s Chinese subsidiary, Hunan Xianggang Messer. The subsidiary subsidiary and Hangzhou Hangyang Co. Ltd signed a partnership agreement to build the krypton/xenon plant already in the spring of 2008.

Precision

The noble gases concentrate in the liquid oxygen during the process of air separation, which is used to produce the components of air: oxygen and nitrogen. As krypton and xenon occur only in very small quantities in the air, however, a great deal of liquid oxygen is needed in order to extract reasonably large quantities.

The new plant can produce 9.4kg of the noble gases per day, from 24,000kg of liquid oxygen. The resulting gas mixture comprises 90% krypton and 10% xenon.

Extracting such a gas mixture from the component of air requires precisely matched process steps such as pre-cleaning, pressure build-up, demethanisation and distillation.

The noble gases krypton and xenon are two of the most valuable products in the portfolio of the industrial gases producer. Among other applications, they are used to manufacture light bulbs and gas lasers. Krypton is also used as an insulating gas filling for double- glazed windows.