Servomex is reflecting on a number of trials carried out in the US in 2012, which demonstrate the capability of its SERVOPRO Chroma trace gas analyser in argon recovery applications.

The SERVOPRO Chroma measurably improves both productivity and profitability in a range of argon producing applications, a statement that is now proven by trials last year.

In trials, where argon was produced in cryogenic liquid from the onsite ASU, the Chroma sample system was set-up in different parts of the process so that it returned multiple data readings from across the process. Analysis of those results enabled adjustments to be made that returned significantly high argon yields; up to three percent increases in argon recovery, dependent on the operations and type of plant involved.

Produced in relatively minor quantities as part of the air separation process, any improvements in the quantity of argon recovered in ASU processes can significantly boost profits – with even single percentage increases in yield potentially boosting revenues by hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

“Not only are the considerable benefits for ASU production apparent from these trials, but the success of this application underlines the exceptional flexibility of the SERVOPRO Chroma as a leading trace gas analyser”

Regis Loubatiere, Trace Product Manager, Servomex

“We conducted a number of trials throughout the US during 2012, all of which conclusively showed the capability of the Chroma to optimise argon recovery,” explained Regis Loubatiere, Trace Product Manager, Servomex.

“Not only are the considerable benefits for ASU production apparent from these trials, but the success of this application underlines the exceptional flexibility of the SERVOPRO Chroma as a leading trace gas analyser.”

Advanced technology

The SERVOPRO Chroma uses advanced gas chromatograph (GC) technology for measurements that enable a complete evaluation of the efficiency of the air separation process.

Usually employed to measure impurities in bulk gases, the Chroma can be configured for the sub ppm analysis of nitrogen in crude argon (typically 90% oxygen, balance argon and nitrogen) – a measurement that cannot be obtained by trace nitrogen in argon analysers, or by thermal conductivity detectors which cannot return the low level sensitivity required for the measurement.

Together, Servomex’s unique patented combination of plasma emission detector and dopant injection technology provides an extremely stable nitrogen measurement – and requires only an argon carrier gas to function, reducing operating costs.

The Chroma master chassis controls a range of detectors and columns for data recording in real-time, working as an independent analyser with each peak reported on screen with a process value in ppm or ppb. This instant data stream from the argon column enables specific, individual adjustments to be made to optimise argon recovery from the process.