Challenges of Transporting Cryogenic Liquid

For years, companies have used dry ice to ship refrigerated materials. Producers and labs were shipping foods, vaccines and other unstable materials using dry ice shippers until it became apparent that this was an insufficient way of keeping items cool and temperatures stable. Companies began using dry vapor, or liquid nitrogen, in shipping processes, and a revolutionary new way to maintain a constant temperature was born. While food provisions, lab samples and other materials were now able to be kept cold during delivery, a new problem was born: leaking nitrogen gas. Vacuum insulated tubing and high pressure valves and pipe fittings were required to outfit vehicles transporting liquid nitrogen and other cryogenic liquids to reduce these issues. This article will help you understand the challenges and solutions used for transporting refrigerated materials.

The Problem

Yes there were challenges with using dry ice as a refrigerant such as the volume of space required, melting & evaporation, costs, safety and contamination. Liquified nitrogen was a better solution but it too has its limitations such as containment and loss of gas through untreated piping materials. This is especially important in long distance travels, such as shipping refrigerated products to other countries around the globe. The process to liquefy nitrogen is time consuming and costs on average $3.25/liter. This all addes up based upon the amount required and if the gas is leaking through seams and valves in your dispersal process, it can get very expensive. It is also necessary to protect the environment andto avoid dangerous circumstances because too much nitrogen in the air can cause humans asphyxiation and death. Leakage into ground water can poison water sources and hurt farming. Therefore using equipment from qualified insulated pipe suppliers and cryogenic engineers is a must for companies transporting liquid nitrogen.

The Solution

While liquid nitrogen is a potentially hazardous material if not properly handled, the benefits of its use in shipping are accessible if you have the appropriate equipment. Transportation chambers need to be equipped with the correct vacuum and insulation for liquid nitrogen, including all valves, pipes, pressure gauges and other parts of the piping system. Having faulty pieces can lead to leaks and loss of gas or liquid, compromising the health of transporters as well as the safety of surrounding communities not to mention the perishables you are transporting. Moving liquid nitrogen from the tanks at the production facility is another opportunity for gas to be leaked and cause concern, making the disbursement equipment just as important as the rest of the transport piping system.

With the development of vacuum insulated tubing for liquid nitrogen, suppliers of many different items have been able to successfully ship their products to locations previously unreachable. Refrigeration with liquid nitrogen allows for remote areas of to receive medical supplies and vaccines that otherwise may go without these precious supplies. Perishable foods can be sent thousands of miles and maintained their freshness and health benefits. Clinical samples for world-wide trials are able to be returned to labs and studied, promoting new developments in science and health advancements. The concern of spoiling and deterioration and bio products are gone, as well as some of the large costs associated with dry ice transportation.

Other Uses

Liquid nitrogen in a safe, controlled environment is also beneficial in food processing. Once the products have been placed in their containers, a vacuum system can remove the existing air and replace it with a combination of nitrogen and other gases. This process maintains the texture, quality and taste of the food while extending shelf life by slowing deterioration. Insulated pipe suppliers can work with design engineers at a packing plant to build a highly efficient production and processing environment for flash freezing foods using liquid nitrogen.

Liquid nitrogen can also be used in other instances to prevent contaminants from corroding equipment. It is also effective in keeping oxygen out of situations that are sensitive to explosions and fire hazards, such as those with flammable liquids, or purging toxic material from equipment before maintenance is performed. With the development of vacuum insulated tubing for liquid nitrogen, the gas can now be safely transported and accessed for a variety of uses. When designing a cryogenic plant, consult with industrial pipe suppliers in PA that are considered experts in cryogenic systems.