Severe Polar conditions no match for Atlas Copco’s rugged air compressor and nitrogen generator

Atlas Copco Compressor Technique was able to supply a complete solution when key customer, ProProcess, needed a high quality, rugged air compressor and nitrogen generator that would be able to deliver optimum and reliable operation at a plant located in the Polar Region.

ProProcess was founded in 2009 as an engineering consulting firm by business partners Johan Moolman, Sergio Burelli and Mark Marcus (Managing Director). The company has since grown into a technology neutral modular process plant specialist, supplying state-of-the-art equipment both locally and internationally.

Atlas Copco GA11VSD+FF air compressor & NGP8+nitrogen generator installed in temperature-controlled container to mitigate impact of polar conditions on machines

According to Marcus, the plant, specifically designed for Polar Regions where ambient temperatures drop to -50°C, will be used in a chemical-enhanced oil-recovery pilot trial. He explains that polymer solution, which is employed in chemical-enhanced oil-recovery applications, degrades in the presence of oxygen, especially if iron is present. “In order to avoid degradation, the wetted polymer needs to be kept under an inert nitrogen blanket.”

Using air supplied by the compressor, the nitrogen generator will provide the blanketing gas over the polymer solution. “The compressor will also supply air for the pneumatic instruments used at the plant,” adds Marcus. “It made sound business sense for us to look for a single-source supplier that is able to provide a combined compressed air and nitrogen package. Atlas Copco was the obvious choice in providing us with a complete solution. As an international company with a base in most regions that we supply plants into, Atlas Copco is able to assist our customers worldwide with their products and full service and aftermarket offering. Having dealt with Atlas Copco for many years, we are already familiar with the quality and reliability of the brand and this further facilitated our decision to select them as our supplier of choice for this particular project.”

Lynette Thompson, seasoned sales representative at Compressor Technique who spearheaded the project, says, “We did not hesitate in recommending the Atlas Copco GA11VSD+FF air compressor and NGP8+ nitrogen generator to our customer as the best solution for this application.”

“Given the severe operating conditions and the plant’s remote location, the customer wanted superior quality machines and justifiably expects nothing less than optimum reliability from their equipment as unplanned and costly downtime due to breakdowns is simply not an option.” The air compressor and nitrogen generator are installed inside a temperature-controlled container where snow (up to a load of 2.4kPa), ice, high wind and sub-zero temperatures will not have any impact on the machines or components.

Highlighting the efficiency of the air compressor’s VSD (Variable Speed Drive) technology, Thompson says that it is a game changer. “As the name implies, the VSD varies the compressor speed to match air demand, thereby reducing energy consumption by up to 50%, with uptime assured even in the most rigorous operating conditions.” Featuring PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) technology, the NGP8+ nitrogen generator is simply plugged into an existing compressed air installation to offer an independent, reliable and flexible supply of nitrogen with purities of up to 99,999%.

“The Compressor Technique team is delighted to have supplied the complete compressed air and nitrogen generation solution to ProProcess,” confirms Thompson. “Once again Atlas Copco product quality and reliability as well as our high service and after-sales service levels world-wide stood us in good stead in securing this order.”

The machines were delivered to ProProcess in February 2021 and will be shipped to the pilot plant in Q3 of this year. ProProcess will oversee the placement and hook-up of the containers when they are delivered to the plant which will then be fully operational. Although the ProProcess team has previously received training on Atlas Copco’s air compressors and nitrogen generators during earlier projects, knowledge gained from refresher training conducted by Atlas Copco on commissioning day will be passed on to the site operating team. Thompson confirms that Atlas Copco’s USA office will step in to provide any further assistance required by the customer.

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