How Do Onsite Nitrogen Generators Work?

How Do Onsite Nitrogen Generators Work?

Nitrogen is a crucial element that makes up a significant portion of the air we breathe. It is an inert, non-toxic gas with a wide range of industrial applications, from preserving food to facilitating steel production. For businesses requiring a consistent supply of nitrogen, onsite nitrogen generators offer a cost-effective and reliable solution. But how do these generators produce nitrogen? Let’s dive into the mechanics.

Methods of Nitrogen Production

Onsite nitrogen generators employ various technologies to produce nitrogen gas tailored to specific industrial needs. Whether you’re looking for high purity levels or have budget constraints, there’s likely a nitrogen generator that fits your requirements. Here are some common types:

PSA Nitrogen Generator

PSA, or Pressure Swing Adsorption, is a popular method for nitrogen generation. In this system, air is drawn into the unit and passed through carbon molecular sieve (CMS). This sieve material has microscopic pores that trap oxygen, moisture, and other impurities, allowing only nitrogen to pass through. The system alternates between two chambers to ensure continuous operation.


  • Continuous Operation: Can run 24/7 to meet your nitrogen needs.
  • High Purity: Capable of producing nitrogen with up to 99.9995% purity.
  • Cost-Effective: Operating costs are significantly lower compared to renting nitrogen cylinders.

Membrane Nitrogen Generator

In a membrane generator, compressed air is forced through a bundle of hollow fibers. These fibers selectively permit nitrogen to pass through while filtering out oxygen and other contaminants. The purity level can be adjusted by manipulating the airflow.


  • Continuous Operation: Can run 24/7 to meet your nitrogen needs.
  • Purity Flexibility: Can achieve up to 99.9% nitrogen purity.
  • Low Maintenance: Simple design with few moving parts.
  • Available on demand when your operation needs it, no need to wait for deliveries.
  • Cost-Effective: Operating costs are significantly lower compared to renting nitrogen cylinders.

Custom Generators Available

On Site Gas creates custom generators for businesses, to meet the unique needs of our clients. If a custom generator is needed for your business, we can assess your needs and help you select the right design. Our custom-engineered systems are designed to be an ideal fit for your industry and production environment. We’ll design your generator to meet your unique needs, and provide training.

Refurbished Generators Available

Not every business needs a custom-built nitrogen generator for their business. In fact, some of our clients prefer a refurbished system. These generators have been used by previous clients and have since been completely restored. We fix up generators at On Site Gas to ensure that each refurbished generator we sell meets our most stringent requirements. When you purchase a refurbished generator, you can be sure that your generator will be in good condition and ready to operate for years to come.

Why a Generator Instead Of Nitrogen Cylinder Delivery?

Nitrogen cylinders are commonly used by businesses that only need a small amount of nitrogen, or only need nitrogen occasionally. Cylinders are effective but have many logistical problems, including:

Safety issues. Nitrogen is under high pressure when it’s in a cylinder, which can come with safety risks. Every person who uses these cylinders needs to be taught how to use them safely to avoid accidents.

Space consuming. Depending on how much nitrogen your business requires, and how much nitrogen you order at a time, nitrogen cylinders can take up a lot of space in your facility.

Some nitrogen is always wasted. Some nitrogen is always wasted when you’re using nitrogen from cylinders. Once the nitrogen reaches a certain quantity in the cylinder, the cylinders must be returned to be refilled.

Cost-inefficient. Nitrogen cylinders may be affordable for a one-time only rental, but consider the cost of renting cylinders on an ongoing basis, for many years. Over time, nitrogen cylinders can cost your business far more money than the one-time cost of purchasing a nitrogen generator.

Administrative costs. In addition to the costs of renting nitrogen cylinders, many administrative costs and inconveniences can come from cylinder rental. Supply chain problems can dramatically impact the availability of nitrogen cylinders when they’re needed. Searching for a new nitrogen producer/supplier could waste time and cost your business money.

Not Sure Which Type of Generator Is Right For You?

Do you need a PSA nitrogen generator? A membrane nitrogen generator? Or maybe a custom generator. The team at On Site Gas is ready to help you decide which type of generator is right for your business. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your new custom nitrogen generator system.

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