Hospitals, pharmaceutical laboratories, research sites, and universities. In almost every location where multiple people or departments use liquid nitrogen, a liquid nitrogen filling station is available.
What exactly does such a filling station look like, and what are the advantages of this cryogenic application? Read on for detailed answers to these questions.
Liquid nitrogen filling stations
Before we address eight noteworthy benefits of the filling station, first, a brief introduction.
A filling station is mainly used when it is necessary to transport smaller quantities of liquid nitrogen to different locations. This often concerns workstations or departments in a building. The filling station is connected to a central tank and allows open or closed containers or cryogenic storage dewars to be filled with liquid nitrogen and taken to a workstation.
Demaco supplies filling stations for both open (pressureless) and closed pressure vessels. Our filling stations consist of various components, such as a phase separator, valves, a level sensor, a level controller, vacuum-insulated transfer lines, and a control box with HMI (contact interface for the operator).
Demaco phase separator
Would you like to know more about Demaco’s filling station? Check out this product page for applications and specifications. Are you curious to find out how a phase separator works? Click here for more information.
Benefits of a good filling station
Filling stations are convenient and even essential for many liquid nitrogen users. Why? The following eight benefits provide a clear answer to this question:
Good liquid nitrogen filling stations are equipped with a built-in phase separator. This separates the liquid and gaseous nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen stays at the bottom of the reservoir of the phase separator, and 100% liquid nitrogen flows to the filling stations. The gaseous nitrogen naturally finds its way up and is discharged through the gas outlet (GN2 outlet).
Since the density of liquid nitrogen is considerably greater than gaseous nitrogen, the less gas there is, the more nitrogen will fit into a small space. A filling station with a phase separator, therefore, makes it possible to fill a vessel or dewar relatively quickly with a maximum amount of nitrogen.
2. Pressure regulation
There are different types of dewars. Two well-known examples are open dewars (non-pressurized) and closed pressure dewars. Pressure dewars are mainly used for storage and transportation, as in this way, even more nitrogen can be carried in the dewar.
A liquid nitrogen filling station allows the user to set the pressure at which the cryogenic liquid is fed into the dewar. This possibility makes the application extra versatile.
3. Automated filling process
Once a container or dewar is filled, smart sensors in the filling station will detect this and immediately stop the system from filling. This automated filling process prevents waste and leakages and ensures safety.
Exactly how the filling process works varies by filling station. For example, an automatic filling station has a temperature sensor. This will detect the liquid nitrogen when it almost reaches the highest level of a dewar or starts flowing through the discharge line of a filling station. At this point, the system senses that the dewar is full of liquid nitrogen and automatically stops filling.
Working with cryogenic liquids comes with several safety hazards. For example, touching liquid nitrogen can cause severe burns, and gaseous nitrogen displaces oxygen from the air. Consequently, shortness of breath occurs if there is too much nitrogen in an area and not enough ventilation.
If liquid nitrogen is taken from a filling station by many different people, the station must be designed to be as safe as possible. This implies a minimal chance of leakage and no ambiguities or risks in operation.
In addition, every good filling station is equipped with an oxygen detector. This detector immediately produces a notification when too little oxygen is measured in an area, which can indicate a leakage of (liquid) nitrogen. If the sensor is also connected to the valves on the filling station, they will automatically close should problems arise.
5. Straightforward operation
The design of a filling station is not only safe but also practical. For example, the filling station from Demaco has a handy control unit that virtually anyone can operate without any problems. This is very practical, especially in locations where many different people use the filling station.
The control unit of a filling station can be equipped with a monitoring function or a prepaid card system. In this case, users scan a card when extracting liquid nitrogen, thus tracking exactly who uses how much nitrogen and when.
Monitoring helps organizations identify the use of liquid nitrogen and allows costs to be allocated equitably among individuals or departments.
A card system where users scan their badge to withdraw liquid nitrogen.
7. Maintenance and hygiene
Liquid nitrogen filling stations come in different shapes and sizes, but almost all are designed to be easily maintained, repositioned, and cleaned.
The entire unit of phase separator, valves, piping, and control box is compact and vacuum insulated. This limits condensation, ice formation, and bacterial growth and is especially crucial in the medical, pharmaceutical, and food industries.
If a filling station includes a stainless steel housing, that housing can be personalized. The construction offers plenty of room for your choice of color, design, and logo.
Demaco’s liquid nitrogen filling station
Demaco’s liquid nitrogen filling station is thoughtfully designed to meet all of the above. It contains a built-in phase separator for optimum quality; it can regulate pressure, has an automatic filling process, and meets all safety requirements. It also includes a user-friendly control unit, a monitoring function, and the housing around the station is fully customizable.
Besides liquid nitrogen filling stations, we also supply filling stations for other liquid gases. Our filling stations come in different shapes and match perfectly with different locations and projects. Do you have an existing infrastructure or a completely new building? We will adapt our filling station to your needs.
Would you like to know more?
Do you want to know more about cryogenic applications? Then read our blogs on the cryogenic freezer, tunnel freezer, or lyophilization. Do you have questions about our products and projects? Feel free to contact us or take a look at our products and projects for more information.