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Oxygen Liquefier Using a Mixed Gas Refrigeration Cycle

[+] Author Affiliations
Vijayaraghavan Chakravarthy, Joe Weber, Abdul-Aziz Rashad, Arun Acharya, Dante Bonaquist

Praxair, Inc., Tonawanda, NY

Paper No. IMECE2003-42124, pp. 491-495; 5 pages
  • ASME 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Heat Transfer, Volume 2
  • Washington, DC, USA, November 15–21, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3718-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-4663-6, 0-7918-4664-4, 0-7918-4665-2
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


This paper presents the design, selection of equipment, testing, and analysis of a 2 TPD (76 kg/hr) prototype oxygen liquefier that employs a mixed gas refrigeration cycle. Small scale oxygen plants (30–60 TPD) based on VPSA systems (Vapor Pressure Swing Adsorption) periodically require liquid back-up to provide uninterrupted supply of O2 gas to customers during planned plant maintenance. Supply of liquid for back-up, especially to customers in remote locations, is expensive and difficult. Economically designed MGR liquefiers will fulfill this market need. The 2 TPD prototype O2 liquefier is based on the dual loop MGR Rankine cycle (see Figure 1). The forecooler loop provides refrigeration at the warm end (233K). R507 is used as a refrigerant for the forecooler in the warm end loop. The main refrigeration loop uses a mixture of R218, R14 and N2 . The main advantage of separating the refrigerants into two different loops is to avoid freezing of high boiling point refrigerants at liquid O2 temperatures in the main refrigeration loop. The process and mixture composition were optimized using the HYSYS process simulation package. Very useful insights were gained in terms of reducing the irreversibilities in the heat exchanger. Low cost innovative designs were adopted for the heat exchangers. For example: (1) plate-and-frame heat exchangers were successfully used for multiple gas streams, (ii) a spirally wound coiled heat exchanger was used to liquefy oxygen. Similarly, the compressors used in the forecooler and main cycle were low cost, off-the-shelf items used in conventional refrigeration systems. The liquefier unit was initially demonstrated and a liquid making capacity of 1.5 TPD at a unit power of 44 kW/TPD was achieved. Subsequent modifications to the heat exchangers resulted in meeting the design expectations at a unit power of 37 kW/TPD.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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