The market for high purity nitrogen witnessed massive slowdown in its progress as a result of spread of Covid-19 pandemic across the globe. The level of demand declined to the extreme level due to lockdown creating hurdles for the key players operating in this market. However as recovery commences in 2021, major players are recuperating their positions through production expansion, capacity utilizations and online selling in 2021 keeeping in view the covid-19 norms.
What are Key High Purity Nitrogen Companies Doing?
Recognized companies such as Praxair Corporation, Air Products and Chemicals Corporations, Air Liquide Corporation, Linde Incorporation, Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation, Nexair LLC, Gulf Cryo, Messer Group, Cryotec, Yindge Gases Group, Emirates Industrial Gases Corporation and Bhuruka Gases Limited are focusing on the incorporation of tactics including partnership agreements, sales contracts, strategic alliances, diversifications, innovative launches, mergers & acquisitions, research and developments, technological upliftments, product line extensions, hiring technical expertise, joint ventures, collaborations, product approvals etc for gaining a competitive edge over others in the market.
For instance, On 4th January, 2021, CIMC Enric Holdings Limited announced that its subsidiary Zhangjiagang CIMC Sanctum Cryogenic Equipment Corporation has recently started research and development of high purity nitrogen for long term cryogenic storage of vaccines, stem cells, plasma, semen, embryos and various tissues and organs for the needs of the biomedical industry.
The high purity nitrogen biological containers will be designed based on the ‘GB14174 large caliber nitrogen container’ standard. Upon successful development, the equipment will adopt advanced technologies such as high vacuum multilayer insulation, electronic temperature control and nitrogen dispersion to make the intelligent cooling and constant temperature process uniform and stable. It is expected that the product will provide immersion storage and vapor phase storage in two ways providing users with a fully automatic, safe and reliable cryogenic nitrogen storage system.
The equipment is specifically developed for cryogenic storage of biological samples. The equipment body will be made up of high quality stainless steel with its own moving and braking device. It will support full-opening and has large opening for sample storage. When the equipment will be stored in the gas phase, the temperature difference in the entire storage area will not exceed 10 degree celsius and the minimum temperature at the top of the design freezer shelf can reach to about - 190 degree celsius which will perfectly fit the temperature requirement for the current Covid-19 vaccine developed by global pharmaceuticals.
The equipment can also effectively meet the cryogenic storage requirements of various biological samples by most drug distribution companies, hospitals, pharmacies, disease control centers scientific research institutes etc providing a strong protection for future scientific research, disease diagnosis and treatment.
The high purity nitrogen market will witness steady demand from the metal fabrication industry worldwide, with special emphasis on onsite nitrogen generator systems, owing to the enhanced cost advantages arising from its use. High purity nitrogen also finds application in improving graphene to attain greater electro-catalytic activity, stability in operations, which further find extensive use in the ever increasing fuel cell market, and resulting in a higher demand for high purity nitrogen. High costs and energy consumption required for production methods using fractionation and liquefaction are expected to constrain the growth of the high purity nitrogen market in the near future.
High purity nitrogen generators can now be set up within compressor houses without any specialized requirements, to produce high purity nitrogen at low pressures, which gets rid of hazards arising from manual handling, which is expected to boost demand in the forecast period.
The demand for high purity nitrogen is expected to rise rapidly in the food industry to effectively meet the food requirements of an ever-growing global population. This can be attributed to its application in reducing oxygen and extending shelf life that accurately meets the quality requirements set by organizations such as the FDA or the European Industrial Gases Association.
Robust Demand for High-Purity Nitrogen in Laboratories to Drive Market Growth
Grades of high-purity nitrogen comprise nitrogen content of over 99.998%, and are classified primarily into ultra-high purity (UHP) and research purity. High-purity nitrogen is also referred to zero-grade nitrogen as meet specification of having not more than 0.5 ppm of total hydrocarbons needed. High-purity nitrogen seeks significant adoption in laboratories for various applications such as gas chromatography. Most of these laboratories face increasing levels of stress and demand for high-purity nitrogen, which can be catered through deployment of gas generators in laboratories.
In current safety-conscious environment, movement of liquid cylinders and tanks eat into the resources and time of laboratories, and also account for a great deal of space. In a bid to resolve these issues, companies such as Proton OnSite offer an array of cost-effective high-purity nitrogen generators, with functionality and ergonomics being their primary agenda. Some prominent examples of such generators are Proton’s N6P and N600P that offer UHP nitrogen, and have been designed with low-decibel levels for customer convenience.
Several laboratories are installing high-purity nitrogen gas generators for meeting rising demand and relieving space requirement apropos tanks and cylinders. For instance, LabSource, comprehensive toxicology reporting provider, has installed Hitachi’s Peak i-Flow – high-purity nitrogen gas generator. This installment resulted into a consistent supply of high-purity nitrogen at relatively lower costs, not only enabling LabSource to meet its increasing nitrogen demands, but also reducing their safety concerns and carbon footprint via elimination of high-pressure nitrogen cylinders.
Immense Requirement in Electronics Manufacturing to Fuel Adoption of High-Purity Nitrogen
High-purity nitrogen seeks high utilization during electronics manufacturing for maintaining an inert, dry, and clean atmosphere. Requirements in electronics production and manufacturing are very particular in terms of environment, structures, timing and temperatures, and high-purity nitrogen aids in creating controlled atmosphere essential for these applications.
Nitrogen gas also seeks adoption in the production of printed circuit boards during processes such as selective soldering and reflow soldering for attaching surface mount components with the PCB. Use of high-purity nitrogen prevents oxidation for both of these processes, thereby protecting the solder from corrosion and the resulting wear & tear.
Key high-purity nitrogen gas suppliers are teaming up with major electronics manufacturers, in order to gain a firm foothold in the global high-purity nitrogen market. For example, Air Liquide signed many new long-term contracts with electronic manufacturers in Singapore, Japan, and China. The company has invested over US$ 180 Mn in these Asian countries for supplying its ultra-purity carrier gases such as nitrogen to new fabrication deployments of its customers who manufacture integrated circuits, flat panel displays, and imaging sensors.
On-Site Nitrogen Generation gaining High Traction in High-Purity Nitrogen Market
Majority of the industrial nitrogen across the globe is produced through large-scale cryogenic separation at Air Separation Units (ASUs). High-purity nitrogen produced by ASUs is supplied to end-use industries in liquid form (approximately -200°C) in thermally-insulated vessels, or in the compressed gas form (300 bar) in steel cylinders. A primary concern of end-users is the absence of indication on these vessels or cylinders regarding amount of product content.
On-site high-purity nitrogen generators have therefore been gaining high traction among these end-use industries, which include oil & gas, and food & beverage, as its offers many benefits over traditional supplies such as cost-savings, convenience, and safety. These generators are designed for continuous, safe, and regulated supply of high-purity nitrogen, and enhance sustainability, profitability, and reliability of end-users.
Key Developments from Manufacturers
- VICI group of companies, post-acquisition of DBS Strumenti Scientific S.p.A, broadened its range of carrier gas products for analytical applications. In the field of high-purity nitrogen, recent development of the newly formed VICI DBS includes nitrogen generators for analytical instrument and gas chromatography applications. These nitrogen generators are engineered to transmute standard compressed air into safe regulated UHP nitrogen supply. Leveraging Carbon Molecular Sieve (CMS) of superior quality, and an innovative column switching, these generators need minimum maintenance and operator attention, thereby saving operational costs.
- Parker Hannifin Corporation, a leading supplier of high-purity nitrogen gas generators for critical analytical and gas chromatography applications, has recently introduced its G1 and G2 generators. These generators employ a field proven & robust technology for producing UHP nitrogen for applications such as life science, spectroscopy, and chemical analysis. Utilizing a single “plug and play” unit, G1 and G2 generators offer constant stream of UHP nitrogen, and are quiet in operation.
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