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Frequently asked questions


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You are welcome to speak directly with our US-based representatives by calling us during normal business hours US Eastern time at +1 (800) 414-6474. First, though, you might find what you are looking for by checking our FAQ below.

Technical Questions

PSA incorporates a material called molecular sieve for gas separation. This zeolite based sieve has a preferential adsorption for nitrogen. Clean dry air is passed through the sieve beds on the oxygen generator, producing an oxygen enriched gas.
PSA is one of several technologies currently in use for separating oxygen from air.

PSA oxygen generators provide the best performance in temperatures between 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) and 80 degrees F (27 degrees C).

PSA oxygen generators provide the best performance when the feed air has a dew point of 40 degrees F & (4 degrees C) or less. Depending on the model selected and or the feed air equipment (air compressor, dryer, air surge tank and feed air filters) supplied, humidity control may or may not be required for the room. Consult factory for recommendations on a specific applications.

PSA oxygen generators have internal filters that have recommended element replacement about every 6 months under 24/7 operation. Additionally, valves will have to be rebuilt every few years. The majority of the maintenance will involve the service of the air compressor recommended by the air compressor manufacturer.

The air preparation or feed air equipment can be located in adifferent room than the oxygen generator.

A PSA oxygen generator may still operate after it has been contaminated, but a reduction in oxygen purity and flow should be expected. This may be critical in many applications, such as hospitals where the oxygen is being inhaled.

The molecular sieve life is based on the feed air quality. If the feed air quality always meets recommended standards, the sieve can last indefinitely (20 years or more!) If the molecular sieve ever became contaminated by oil, dirt or water can it be cleaned or replaced? If the molecular sieve is contaminated by oil it will have to be replaced. Water contamination, based on degree, does not necessarily mean that the sieve will need to be replaced. Dirt is a rare cause of sieve replacement, but other contaminates like ammonia can cause sieve failure. Consult factory for specific air contamination that may be present at the generator site.

All NOVAIR oxygen generators are designed so that the sieve can be changed in the field. The cost of the sieve change depends on the generator model and size.

An oil- free compressor is not required for PSA oxygen generation as long as the feed air quality is maintained.

Not all zeolite based sieves are the same, and can vary even by brands made in different locations (USA vs. foreign made).

Oil-free air compressors generally cost significantly more than oil lubricated versions.

We would recommend only good quality feed air equipment (air compressor, dryer & feed air filter set) that can meet our air quality requirement of ISO 8573.1 class 1.4.1. The details of this specification are shown on our general arrangement drawing for each model. We also recommend using a good quality feed air equipment so the feed air is as good into the future as it was on day one.

The feed air quality specification for NOVAIR PSA oxygen generators requires a dew point value of 40 degrees F(4 degrees C) or less. If the local ambient air conditions are above this value, an air dryer will be required.

Product Details

Excessive oil discharge from an air compressor can damage a PSA oxygen generator by contaminating the molecular sieve.

A desiccant dryer is not required for air preparation, in most cases a refrigerated dryer is sufficient.

A desiccant dryer can be used in place of a refrigerated dryer, and slightly better performance from the oxygen generator can be expected. However, this increase in performance may not offset energy and cost penalties.

The size of the air compressor for a PSA oxygen generator has to be factored for site elevation. Higher elevations will require a larger air compressor.

The oxygen purity from NOVAIR generators can range from 93 to 95%, with 99% being optionally available (certain criteria must be present).

The dew point of the produced oxygen from a PSA oxygen generator will be -60 degrees F (-51 degrees C) to -100 degrees F (-73 degrees C) depending on the generator size.

The output pressure from most NOVAIR oxygen generators (Model COMPACT-20 and up) is 45 psi (3 bar) to 60 psi (4 bar), with higher pressures optionally available by means of an oxygen booster.

The delivery pressure of oxygen from a PSA oxygen generator can usually be increased to the high end of the scale by decreasing the flow from the plant. Higher pressures would require an oxygen booster or compressor.

With an oxygen booster, pressures of 8 bar and above are possible.

Liquid oxygen (LOX) at 99% oxygen purity may have some advantages for metal cutting, but not necessarily for medical applications.

If a PSA oxygen generator is run at 80% or less of its rated output, continuous oxygen purity up to 95.3% is possible.

Some local authorities require 99% purity oxygen due to old regulations and ordinances. However, with the acceptance of international specifications from CSA (Canada) and ISO 10083 (European) these older specifications are being revised to 93%.

Process FAQ's

These terms have been used interchangeably, with oxygen concentrator being the most technically accurate. Generically, oxygen concentrators describe smaller home medical systems, and oxygen generators describe all other size plants.

There have been powerful competitive interests that have lobbied local authorities to maintain a 99% medical oxygen purity standard to prevent the introduction of less expensive alternatives like PSA oxygen generators.

It is normal for a LOX storage tank to bleed off 1 to 4% of the tank volume to prevent pressure built-up. This is not a factor with PSA oxygen generators, all the oxygen that is produced can be used, there is no bleed off.

There are CSA and ISO specifications that contain information on hospital oxygen systems.

NOVAIR provides a Telemetric Communication Option for remote monitoring of the oxygen generator on Models OG-250 and larger.

Ideally, the hospital would design specifications or historical data to determine the plant size required. If this information is not available a formula can be used to estimate the peak oxygen required. Simply speak with one of ”

With a PSA oxygen system you eliminate all the cost and problems of delivered oxygen (higher prices, delivery costs, supply problems to name a few)

Most specifications for medical or breathable oxygen have maximum levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. It is important that the oxygen system has access to clean fresh air, and that a carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide monitor be used for medical or breathable applications.

NOVAIR provides a Telemetric Communication Option for remote monitoring of the oxygen generator on Models OG-250 and larger.

Depending on what sensors are used (dew point, oxygen purity carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels, flow etc.) the plant can be configured to shut down based on any number of parameters.

It is possible that an oxygen (or any other type of gas cylinder) can become contaminated due to misuse. For this reason OGSI offers vacuum pumps on most CFP Models so that cylinders can be evacuated before they are filled.

The oxygen in a cylinder can last indefinitely. In the US, the DOT requires that aluminum cylinders be hydro-tested every (5) years, and steel cylinders every (10) years.

It is never a bad idea to use a vacuum pump to empty a cylinder before it is refilled, especially if the cylinder is out of the control of the filler. This vacuum procedure can be eliminated if the cylinder is always in control of the filler.

Carbon filters can provide an extra measure of filtration on medical or breathable oxygen systems, and additionally eliminate system odors.

Pricing FAQ's

The NOVAIR Model CFP-500 and CFP-1000 provide two of our best values, due to optimal sizing of the oxygen compressor.

On smaller CFP’s, the price does not change proportionately with plant size because of the standard equipment and instrumentation included with each skid. Also, there are only three standard sizes of oxygen compressors.

If the application is not for medical or breathable use, costs can be reduced by eliminating the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide monitor.

There are various different types of sensor technologies available for gas monitoring. NOVAIR uses chemical depleting sensors, which have to be replaced over time.

It is generally accepted that a 10 to 1 ratio of cylinders is required based on the output of the plant. For example, if a CFP-500 produces (50) cylinders per day, then (500) cylinders may be required to service the market. This ratio may change if the customer supplies the cylinder.

For steel oxygen cylinders there are (2) major types of valvesused worldwide, the US based type CGA 540, and the British based type BS # 3. DIN type versions are also being used.

A high pressure flexible hose with an on/off valve and the corresponding cylinder valve connections at each end would be required. For safety, a containment vessel or chamber for the cylinder being filled is also recommended.

For PSA oxygen generators, the cost for oxygen production, or cylinder filling is normally stated in kilowatt hours (KWH). The reason being that the air is free, but there is a cost of electricity to operate the air compressor. At a sea level site elevation, it will cost about 10 KWH to fill a 6m3 size oxygen cylinder, or 1.5 KWH per M3.

The amount of power required to operate just the PSA oxygen generator is negligible, about 50 watts, for control circuits.

Most NOVAIR oxygen systems will fit into a 20 or 40-foot ocean shipping container.

Every NOVAIR oxygen system is tested at the factory.

Yes, you can mount a PSA oxygen generator on a skid, but it must be in the vertical position to operate properly.

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