When people talk about “money from the air”, thoughts about some kind of not quite honest kind of business involuntarily come to mind. But this is only if we understand this expression in a figurative sense. But in the literal sense, making money by extracting its most important components from the air - oxygen - is a respectable and, most importantly, profitable business.
Many people think that only a few specific industries, such as metallurgy and the chemical industry, serve oxygen production, but this is not the case.
Indeed, 8 out of 10 liters of industrially produced oxygen are used for these purposes, but a fifth of it falls on a variety of industries: oxygen is widely used in medicine, including in the recreational area adjacent to it; when welding or cutting metals; during water treatment (adding oxygen to water is similar to the action of chlorine added in order to disinfect it); when breeding fish on an industrial scale - that is, in captivity, in artificial ponds.
Among other things, small amounts of oxygen by global standards, but quite worthy for occupying such a niche by a novice entrepreneur, are used in specific operations for the production of special glasses and even in catering - the so-called “Oxygen cocktails” is a very promising line of business, built and constantly growing due to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and manic concern of many people for non-existent health problems.
Of course, the ideal case of opening an oxygen production business is to open it with an eye to the instant and absolute sale to a nearby metallurgical or chemical plant.
However, metallurgical and chemical plants exist not only not in all cities, but also far from in all regions of our country, therefore one cannot count on such a good neighborhood. But this should not confuse you - all the enterprises whose owners once decided to invest in oxygen production continue to operate to this day, not reducing, but greatly increasing production volumes - it is easy to sell oxygen, and its raw materials are free, which attracts businessmen.
In addition, the requirements for products (and they are indicated in GOST 5583-78, TU 2114-001-05798345-2007 or, if we talk about export, in ISO 2046-73) are very simple and do not require any large investments to additional control equipment, especially since all modern equipment for oxygen production, which will be discussed in the article, is already equipped with control devices, and the number of personnel serving the production is minimal, even if you count non-working personnel (accountants, managers, cleaners, etc.) .P.).
Technology and equipment for oxygen production
To obtain oxygen, special devices are used, which are called oxygen generators or oxygen concentrators, which, in principle, is the same (although the second name is a little more accurate - oxygen is not produced by them, but only its concentration increases).
But on the existing market, oxygen concentrators are usually referred to as low-power equipment designed for servicing medical facilities and equipped with additional purification filters (however, not always), while industrial units of increased productivity are often called oxygen generators, often with the regulation of the oxygen content in the resulting gas mixture - to many customers oxygen of 99% concentration is not needed; for technical purposes, for example, 90% is enough, and in some cases even less. This article will, of course, focus on industrial oxygen generators.
It goes without saying that the cost of an oxygen generator directly depends on its performance and the purity of the oxygen produced (meaning maximum purity). Productivity (power) is measured in cubic meters of oxygen of a given concentration at the outlet per hour (sometimes in liters per minute; to get the number of liters produced per minute by an oxygen generator, if the productivity in cubic meters per hour is known, multiply this number by 16 2/3 and vice versa), purity - as a percentage or a range of percentage values, then to obtain a fixed figure, the average of those specified in the specification and documents for the equipment is taken.
For example, a Chinese-made oxygen generator with a capacity of 10 cubic meters. meters per hour and an oxygen purity of 90-96% will cost $ 6, 000 (190 thousand rubles. at the current rate), and a capacity of 100 cubic meters. meters per hour of the same oxygen purity as the previous one - already 900, 000 US dollars (28380 thousand rubles in terms of the current rate).
However, such equipment has a weak point - it does not use atmospheric air, it will need compressed air in cylinders (it is called synthetic, as it is cleaned of dust and water vapor). On the one hand, part of the used air cylinders can be filled with oxygen (and one 40-liter cylinder costs more than 4000 rubles, a new one - more than 6000 rubles), on the other hand, then you will have to pay for air (and it costs 300- 350 rubles per cubic meter), which can be cleaned and compressed independently by investing a relatively small amount, and for renting most of the cylinders (more than 200 rubles per unit).
To do this, you only need to purchase a compressor with a capacity greater than the need for an oxygen generator. A large and not equal performance is needed for the reserve - in the event of a malfunction or technical stop of the compressor, the generator will not stand idle, and in the opposite case, the compressor will simply accumulate the reserve in the receiver.
Of course, there should be more air consumed by an oxygen generator than oxygen produced by it. For example, an oxygen generator with a capacity of 10 cubic meters. meters of oxygen per hour needs 2.2 cubic meters. meters of air every minute, i.e. 132 cubic meters per hour. meter; in the case of a generator with a capacity of 100 cubic meters. meters, the proportions will change, respectively, 10 times - 22 and 1320 cubic meters. meters.
A high-quality screw compressor for the first option will cost only 7-8 thousand rubles, for the second - 52-53 thousand rubles .; a dryer with an internal cooler, a separator and an air filter of 1250 and 7400 euros (53 thousand rubles and 312 thousand rubles, calculated at the current rate), respectively. In principle, you can see that the investment is not so large that it would save on such important equipment in terms of independence from suppliers.
If you don’t go to any high level and don’t invest a lot of money in business, you can get by with equipment that works directly with atmospheric air. It is low-power compared to the above, but in addition to the purchase and installation, it does not require anything.
A sample of such an oxygen generator with a capacity of 10-60 liters per minute (0.55-3.5 cubic meters per hour) with a purity of 90% will cost 600-10000 US dollars (20-315 thousand rubles), respectively.
Oxygen and oxygen production facilities
Oxygen production does not require a specially equipped room - unless local fire and related services may require enhanced fire protection - for example, a larger number of firewalls, fire shields, hydrants and fire extinguishers compared to other enterprises. Otherwise, the only condition for such a room is the presence of electricity supplied by the standard equipment required (220 or 380 V).
Regarding the staff, one can say almost the same thing - an unskilled worker will also cope with the oxygen generator, it is enough just to mount and configure it correctly, which can be done by an outside organization.
However, the workshop will also require a master technologist (an engineer with an education of 240301 “Chemical technology of inorganic substances”, 240706 “Automated production of chemical enterprises” or 240801 “Machines and equipment of chemical production” according to OKSO).
Cost-Effective Oxygen Production
It is quite difficult to talk about the profitability of oxygen production - it all depends on the chosen scheme of work (on "someone else's", that is, purchased or own condensed air). But the order of numbers can be called if you calculate the total cost of production (wage fund, electricity, rent, if any) and total (gross) profit.
In order not to go into lengthy calculations, we can say that the production of oxygen in the first version of the equipment (its own compressed air) brings 100-120% of the income, in the second - about 150%.
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