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The Design Of a Plant For The Production Of Oxygen From Air With a Capacity Of 1000 Metric Tonnes Per Annum

Download complete project materials on The Design Of a Plant For The Production Of Oxygen From Air With a Capacity Of 1000 Metric Tonnes Per Annum from chapter one to five with reference


1.0  Importance of Oxygen

Emsley (2001) reported that, oxygen is a chemical element with symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the halogen group on the periodic table and is highly reactive nonmetallic element and oxidizing agent that readily forms compounds (notably oxides) with most element. Emsley (2001) reported that by mass, oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium. At Standard Temperature and Pressure (STP) two atoms of the element bind to form dioxygen, a diatomic gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, with the formula O2.

The presence of large amounts of dissolved and free oxygen in the oceans and atmosphere may have driven most of the anaerobic organisms then living to extinction during the Great Oxygenation Event (oxygen catastrophe) about 2.4 billion years ago. Freeman et al. (2005) stated that, however, cellular respiration using O2 enables aerobic organisms to produce much more Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) than anaerobic organisms, helping the former to dominate earth’s biosphere. Berner et al. (1999) reported that, since the beginning of the Cambrian period 540 million years ago, O2 levels have fluctuated between 15% and 30% by volume. Berner et al. (1999) reported that, towards the end of the Carboniferous period (about 300 million years ago) atmosphere O2 levels reached a maximum of 35% by volume, which may have contributed to the large size of insects and amphibians at this time.

Emsley (2001) reported that, human activities, including the burning of 7 billion tonnes of fossil fuels each year have had very little effect on the amount of free oxygen in the atmosphere. Lide, (1999 ) reported that, at the current rate of photosynthesis it would take about 2,000 years to regenerate the entire O2 in the present atmosphere.

Emsley (2001) pointed that, two major methods are employed to produce 100 million tonnes of O2 extracted from air for industrial uses annually. The most common method is known as cryogenic process, the most efficient and cost- effective technology for producing large quantities of oxygen, nitrogen, and argon as gaseous or liquid products.

The other major method of producing O2 gas is known as non-cryogenic process, which involves producing O2 gas by passing a stream of clean, dry air through one bed of a pair identical zeolite molecular sieves, which absorbs the nitrogen and delivers a gas stream that is 93% – 95% O2 (Emsley, 2001). Smith (2001) reported that, amongst these methods, cryogenic process is suitable for large scale production, high flow rates and when high purity oxygen is required while the non-cryogenic process is suitable for low volumes and high purity oxygen requirements.

Problem Statement

The challenges faced in the production of oxygen from air include production of low quality product and high cost of production. Smith (2001) reported that one of the factor responsible for this poor quality is the presence of impurities present in the air used for producing oxygen. This project is therefore set to answer the following key questions:

  •  1 Which of the oxygen production technic will be most suitable for the production of oxygen at lower production cost?
  • 2. Which of the oxygen production technic will be most suitable for obtaining high purity product oxygen for use in the industry and/or clinic for human use?

    Objectives of the Design Project

  • Prepare a detailed material balance for the process.
  • Prepare a detailed energy balance for the process.
  • Prepare a material flow diagram (block and process) of the process.
  • Prepare a chemical engineering (equipment) design of one major and one minor equipment of the oxygen plant.
  • Indicate the process control, plant layout, shutdown/startup and safety procedure required for this plant bearing in mind the toxic and inflammable materials being handled.
  • Calculate and analyze the economical implication of the proposed plan

The scope of the project is limited to carrying out a process design, detailed chemical engineering     design and  economics analysis for all the units involved from the production to the purification, collection and storage of the oxygen produced from air


  1. Oxygen is used for medical reasons to save and protect life.
  2. Oxygen is used in chemical production as a raw material and in pulp manufacturing as a bleaching agent.
  3. Oxygen is widely applied in the metal industries in conjunction with acetylene and other fuel gases for metal cutting, welding, scarfing, hardening, cleaning and melting.
  4. Steel and iron manufacturers also extensively use oxygen or oxygen-enriched air to affect chemical refining and heating associated with carbon removal and other oxidation reactions.
  5. Benefits such as fuel and energy savings plus lower total emission volumes are often achieved when air is enriched or replaced with higher-purity oxygen.


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