Liquid nitrogen is a cryogenic fluid which can cause rapid freezing. Liquid nitrogen is odorless non-flammable, colorless, and non-corrosive in nature. Liquid nitrogen is also known as LN2, LIN, or LN. Our atmosphere contains about 78% nitrogen by volume and 75.5% by weight. Nitrogen is employed mostly in the gaseous form; however, it is commonly stored and transported as a liquid in several types of containers such as Dewar, cryogenic liquid cylinder, and cryogenic storage tank. The type of container depends upon the quantity required by end user. Liquid nitrogen is actually generated or produced at an air separation plant. The process of liquefaction of air, followed by separation of nitrogen takes place by continuous cryogenic distillation. The nitrogen is then recovered as cryogenic liquid. Liquid nitrogen can also be obtained by a process called pressure swing adsorption.
Liquid nitrogen is the largest volume of inorganic chemical sold in the world, due to its diverse applications such as food freezing, biological sample preservation, deflashing and grinding of plastic and rubber, and other temperature-related applications. In terms of end-user industry, the liquid nitrogen market can be segmented into healthcare, food and beverage, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and rubber and plastic. Liquid nitrogen, due to its characteristic low temperature is employed as a cryogen in cryotherapies, cryosurgeries, and cryopreservation, which are primarily utilized for curing skin, removing skin tags, skin cancers, and moles. The liquid nitrogen also demolishes decaying tissues. Liquid nitrogen is likely to be utilized, primarily, wherever cooling is required.
Food preservation and increased demand for liquid nitrogen from chemical and pharmaceutical companies is anticipated to drive the liquid nitrogen market in the near future. Food preservation and processing has gained importance in order to supply high quality food to the rising population worldwide. Preservation often includes cooling or freezing of the food product, which enhances its shelf-life. However, major transportation cost and direct contact with liquid nitrogen are some restraints of the liquid nitrogen market. Utmost care and precautions need to be take while transporting liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen is nontoxic and inert; however, it as acts as a simple asphyxiant and is likely to cause dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness, or even death upon excess inhalation.
In terms of region, North America is anticipated to lead the global liquid nitrogen market, due to the increase in number of suppliers of liquid nitrogen in the region. Asia Pacific is another lucrative region for the liquid nitrogen market. The region comprises about 60 % of the population of the world, where food preservation and processing is estimated to become a major application for liquid nitrogen. Other industries in Asia Pacific are experiencing boom due to rapid industrialization and infrastructural development. Europe is another attractive region due to its prominent automotive, metals and fabrication, rubbers and plastic industries.
Major players operating in the global liquid nitrogen market are Air Products and Chemicals Inc., Messer Group, The Linde Group, Gulf Cryo, Air Liquide, Cryomech Inc. Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation, Praxair Inc., AMCS Corporation, Statebourne Cryogenics, and Asia Industrial Gases Pte. Ltd.