Liquid Nitrogen vs. Nitrogen Gas: The Differences

If you run a business that requires nitrogen gas (n2) for system operations, it is important to understand the differences between liquid nitrogen vs. nitrogen gas When considering liquid nitrogen vs. nitrogen gas for your operations, one of the first things you must examine is availability and cost-effectiveness.

Liquid nitrogen delivery can be costly compared to producing high purity n2 gas directly on-site at your location. Using your own nitrogen gas also eliminates the need to rely on timely deliveries to keep your processes running smoothly. Any break in the chain or miscalculation can result in a temporary shutdown that can greatly affect your bottom line.


Let’s first examine the specifics of nitrogen gas to help understand why it may be the superior choice when looking at liquid nitrogen vs. nitrogen gas. As one of the most abundant elements on earth, nitrogen (n2) gas composes about 79% of the air we breathe. It is a highly stable gas that is both odorless and colorless. Nitrogen gas is slightly soluble in water and a bit lighter than air at room temperature. The fact that nitrogen gas has inert properties, and is clean and dry, makes it ideal for use across numerous industries. N2 gas is safe to use in most applications as it is present in all plants and animals.

What is Liquid Nitrogen?

Commercial processes are used to distill a liquefied form of nitrogen from the air, which is then stored in vented insulated containers that are specially made for the liquid. The containers must be vented to prevent pressure from building up. Liquefied nitrogen boils very rapidly, which causes it to surround nearby surfaces with an insulation layer of nitrogen gas. It is vital to follow safe procedures when using liquid nitrogen as it can damage living tissue upon contact. For this reason, you must always wear proper protective gear. Since it boils so rapidly, pressure is created that could cause an explosion and could even present an asphyxiation risk if it accumulates in the air too fast.

What is Liquid Nitrogen Used for?

Yet another essential factor to consider when looking at liquid nitrogen vs. nitrogen gas is how companies use these products in their processes. Various industries have found each to be beneficial for different reasons and although both can be delivered, there is always the concern that the product may run out when you need it most. This is why so many choose to produce them directly on-site.

Since liquid nitrogen has low reactivity and extremely cold temperature, common uses include:

  • Cooling items for easy fracturing or machining.
  • Preparing unusual beverages and foods through molecular gastronomy.
  • Cattle branding.
  • Quick freeze of water pipes to allow work when there is no shut-off valve.
  • Protecting materials from oxygen.
  • Removing skin blemishes through cryotherapy.
  • Coolant use for vacuum pumps, superconductors, and other products.
  • Cryopreserving genetic material and biological samples.
  • Freezing and transporting food items.


Nitrogen gas has become an integral component of many manufacturing and medical processes. Some of the industries in which it is used include:

  • Healthcare. Medicine and surgical packaging processes use nitrogen to prevent degradation and oxidation.
  • Food and Beverage. Nitrogen gas is most often used in the food and beverage industry to freeze items and protect against loss of quality. It can also extend the shelf life of products while preventing insect infestations, mold, and oxidation. Many coffee producers and packers have found the use of nitrogen to be especially beneficial in their packaging and brewing process.
  • Petroleum, Pharmaceuticals, and Chemicals. Nitrogen is used in these industries to purge pipelines, tanks, and equipment of dangerous vapors and gases.
  • Health and Beauty. This industry uses a lot of raw materials in its production. If these materials are exposed to oxygen, their viability would be compromised, so nitrogen inerting is used in packaging to increase the shelf life of many health and beauty products.
  • Heat Treating. Furnaces and kilns that are used in heat treating require nitrogen gas to combat the dangers of oxygen, which weakens and discolors products.
  • Military. Military nitrogen generation systems are used all over the world. The military finds nitrogen to be beneficial in many of their operations, including explosives inerting, lab work, fuel tank inerting, strut and tire filling, and battery inerting.

Why Choose On-Site Gas?

On Site Gas has led the industry in n2 gas production for all industries across the board for more than 30 years. We stand out from our competitors because we are the company that paved the way for all of the others out there. The products that we offer to our clients can be custom designed to suit any needs and budgets. Some of our most popular nitrogen gas generation products include:

  • PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) Nitrogen Gas Generator Systems. These very popular PSA nitrogen generators create high-purity nitrogen by separating the oxygen from ordinary air.
  • Nitrogen Membrane Generators. Our nitrogen membrane generator system comes to you as a complete turn-key operation that you put directly to use at your site.
  • Nitrogen Container SystemsNitrogen container systems provide highly efficient and money-saving nitrogen gas production.
  • Custom Engineered Nitrogen Generation Systems. The custom-engineered systems from On Site Gas are specially designed to accommodate any company’s unique needs and specifications.
  • Used Nitrogen Generators. You can’t beat our selection of used nitrogen generation systems that are refurbished and new just for you.
  • Nitrogen Cylinder Filling Systems. If you are paying to have your gas delivered, you can save a great deal of money by filling your nitrogen cylinders with these systems.
  • Nitrogen Membrane Trailer Systems. These nitrogen generation trailer systems are portable and offer flows of up to 90,000 standard cubic feet per hour. On top of that, they can generate nitrogen that is up to 99.5 percent pure.

With a selection of products like ours, there is surely one to fit any of your company’s unique demands. When you choose to start generating your own oxygen at your business’ location, you will find that nitrogen generation systems from On Site Gas will pay for themselves in a short time and provide continued savings for many years to come.

Contact the experts today to learn more.