Nitrogen (N2) is vital in many industrial processes but getting it to your workplace can be expensive and time-consuming. Have you thought about an on-site nitrogen generator installation? This way you can have your very own nitrogen generation system.

Recently, there has been a significant shift towards on-site nitrogen generation as it can offer many benefits over bulk deliveries. Read on to find out more about how a nitrogen generator works, what industries use them, and why.

How Does a Nitrogen Generator Work?

If you’re wondering, “what is a nitrogen generator?” and “how do nitrogen generators work?”, we’re here to explain.

There are 2 types of nitrogen generators: Membrane Nitrogen Generator and a Pressure Swing Adsorption (PS) Nitrogen Generator connected to a compressor. They both separate nitrogen molecules from the oxygen molecules within compressed air which results in a purified supply of nitrogen. However, they both use different methods to do so and, therefore, produce different levels of nitrogen quality.

How to Generate Nitrogen From Air

A Membrane Nitrogen Generator passes compressed air through semipermeable membranes to separate it into component gases. The component gases, not including nitrogen, will permeate the membrane but nitrogen will remain. This method is ideal for applications requiring low flow and quality purity levels.

A PSA Nitrogen Generator have 2 separate vessels filled with a carbon molecular sieve. Oxygen, CO2 and water vapour pass through the sieve, but nitrogen doesn’t. The majority of nitrogen is then ready for direct use or storage. This method is ideal for applications requiring high flow and quality purity levels.

Although it differs for each model, nitrogen generator maintenance is relatively low, so they’re easy to keep on top of and regularly check.

What Industries Use a Nitrogen Generation System?

The brewery industry is renowned for using nitrogen generation during the brewing process. It helps:

  • Move beer from one tank to the other
  • Shift oxygen and carbon dioxide in the tanks
  • Pressurise kegs
  • Clean the tanks between uses to ensure there is no risk or oxidisation or pollution for the next batch

The industry benefits from using on-site nitrogen generation as it is cheaper than CO2 as well as a lot safer. Nitrogen doesn’t need to be contained in high pressure cylinders which immediately reduces the risk of injury. There is also less risk of over carbonation with nitrogen which is important for the brewery industry.

Other benefits include the ones listed below.

Benefits of On-Site Nitrogen Generation

Better Reliability

Reliability is critical in any industrial operation, and nitrogen is no exception. On-site N2 generation systems provide a reliable nitrogen source, delivering a consistent flow of gas that is not subject to the delays or disruptions that can occur with bulk deliveries.

On-site systems are not affected by the same weather-related risks as bulk tankers which means they can maintain a steady supply of nitrogen even in extreme conditions. As a result, on-site N2 generation provides a more reliable solution for businesses that need a consistent nitrogen gas supply.

More Cost-Effective

The cost of nitrogen gas can fluctuate greatly, depending on the market and the availability of bulk deliveries. This can make it difficult to budget for nitrogen gas and result in unexpected costs. On-site nitrogen generation systems offer a more predictable cost, as the gas price is not subject to the same fluctuations. This is a lot less than what it costs to get it delivered from an external provider.

On-site systems are also powered by renewable energy sources, further reducing costs. As a result, this provides a more cost-effective solution for businesses that need a consistent nitrogen gas supply.

Positive Environmental Impact

Bulk deliveries of nitrogen gas systems can have a significant environmental impact. The tankers used to transport the gas generate emissions that contribute to air pollution.

In contrast, an on-site nitrogen generation system has a much smaller environmental footprint. They do not require the use of tankers. As mentioned above, on-site systems can be powered by renewable energy sources which, in turn, reduces their environmental impact.

Time & Speed Efficient

With on-site N2 generation, the production time required is generally much shorter than the time required to deliver an equivalent quantity from a bulk supplier, therefore resulting in a higher average speed compared to bulk deliveries. This is because it typically does not require the lengthy setup times and logistical coordination associated with bulk deliveries.

It is readily available for operations which means that time is saved and more work can be done. The process is completely streamlined, with a continuous supply of nitrogen to feed the application. As well as this, with the ability to adapt to your fluctuating nitrogen demands, it is continually evolving to help conserve energy and improve productivity.

More Safe & Secure

Bulk deliveries of nitrogen gas can be dangerous, as the tankers used to transport the gas are susceptible to accidents. In contrast, on-site N2 generation systems are safer as they do not require tankers. On-site N2 generation systems are typically located inside buildings, which provides an additional layer of safety.

Specific Requirements Can Be Met

One of the best things about generating nitrogen on-site is that you can produce it specifically to your requirements. You can ensure it is exactly what you need because you are in control of the purity level. There will also be no product loss because you will make the right amount you need for operation, meaning no waste – there will also be no waste during transit!


There are many advantages to using an on-site nitrogen generation system in the UK. They are safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly. In addition, they offer several benefits for businesses and industries that use them.

On-site nitrogen generators are an excellent way to create an inert atmosphere for various applications. At Air Power East, we offer a range of high-quality nitrogen gas generators, as well as extensive knowledge on this technology. If you have any further questions or need any advice, don’t hesitate to call Air Power East on 01359 251180.

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