An exergy analysis is performed to analyse the possibilities of fuel saving in the cryogenic distillation process, which is the main method of air separation. It is shown that more than half of the exergy loss takes place in the liquefaction unit and almost one-third in the air compression unit. Minor exergy losses are taking place in the distillation unit and the main heat exchanger. The major cause of exergy loss is the use of compressors and to a lesser extent the use of turbines. Especially, the relatively low rational efficiency of the turbines operating in the cryogenic region is striking. Improvements are suggested which save one-fourth of the exergy loss. For more substantial reductions of the exergy losses in air separation alternative processes have to be used or developed.
- Exergy analysis
- Cryogenic air separation