Coega air separation plant
By R Richardson, Air Products
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Electricity+Control, July 2013 (pages 42 - 44)
Air Separation is a continuous process in which atmospheric air, which is a mixture of gases, mainly nitrogen, oxygen and argon, is separated into these pure component gases. The process is highly energy intensive and somewhat unique in that the basic raw material, being air, carries no cost. For this reason electricity, which is required to drive the process, is the true raw material, and makes up a massive 75 - 80% of the operating costs. This places enormous emphasis on energy efficiency in the design and operation of air separation units (ASUs) – such as the one developed at the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape.
- Air separation is a continuous process in which atmospheric air, which is a mixture of gases (mainly nitrogen, oxygen and argon), is separated into these pure component gases.
- Air separation can be an energy-intensive process.
- Although air separation by cryogenic distillation is a relatively mature technology, it is becoming far more energy efficient.