Nitrous Oxide (N2O), popularly known as the laughing gas is a chemical compound of Nitrogen and Oxygen. Administered with oxygen, Nitrous Oxide, is also used as carrier gas in laboratory instruments and can be used as a propellant in aerosols and food stuff, particularly for whipped cream and as a chemical reagent in the manufacture of various compounds. However, the gas is primarily used for anesthetic purposes. It is colourless, non flammable and nontoxic gas with a slightly sweetish taste & odour.
Nitrous oxide can be produced by both natural and human-related sources. The primary source of natural production of Nitrous Oxide can be found in a wide variety of biological sources in soil and water, particularly microbial action in wet tropical forests. Major human-related sources of N2O are agricultural soil management, animal manure management, sewage treatment, mobile and stationary combustion of fossil fuel, acid production, and 'Nitrous Oxide Gas Plants'.
The Process of producing Nitrous Oxide involves melting and decomposing of Ammonium Nitrate by heating to a temperature of approximately 2500 - 2600 C. It gives mixture of nitrous oxide and super-heated steam. Further, the steam and impurities are removed by scrubbing in turn with water, caustic soda and finally sulphuric acid.
Nitrous Oxide Gas Plant Process
The process of manufacturing Nitrous Oxide consists of :
- Melting Ammonium nitrate in a melter to a temperature of 250°C
- This molten ammonium nitrate flows into a combustion pot where
ammonium nitrate is decomposed to give a mixture of Nitrous Oxide &
super heated steam, according to the following reaction:
NH4NO3 ------------ N2O + 2H2O
- This process generates N2O, however, with some impurities
including Ammonium Nitrate fumes, Nitrogen & other oxides of
- The steam in the hot gas is condensed by scrubbing with water,
caustic soda and sulphuric acid and the entrained moisture and
traces of ammonium nitrate get separated in the mist separator.
- The residual traces of ammonium nitrate, carbon dioxide and other
oxides of nitrogen are removed in the caustic scrubbery and the gas
is allowed to collect in a mild steel waterseal type gasholder.
- The gas from the gasholder is sucked by a compressors.The new-gen Nitrous Oxide Gas Plants are safe and economical, these plants come with an efficient Generation system which reduces power consumption and adds on to safety. The most common way of distributing Nitrous oxide is as a compressed liquid in Cylinders of the same kind, as used for oxygen, Nitrogen etc.
- The compressed gas passes through water separator before being
dried in alumna drier battery.
- The gas is compressed with a compressor, dried in a drier and
then refrigerate when it becomes liquid.
- Liquid nitrous oxide is stored in high-pressure storage vessel
into cylinders and the gas is filled by weight.
- The liquid nitrous oxide from the above storage vessels is sucked by a liquid nitrous oxide pump for compressing in service/bulk cylinders.