Technologies

Helium production and liquefaction

1. Purification and liquefaction of helium

JSC NPO “Geliymash” is the leader of the domestic market in in the field of cryogenic equipment design and production.

In early 60s of XX century we had the task to get liquid helium in production quantities and to give the opportunity of thermostating different objects at the level of 4K. Since then the company has made more than 250 cryogenic helium plants and helium management systems for scientific, academic and industrial centers, defense complex and health services.

Basic technological elements of Orenburg helium processing factory for purification of helium concentrate and for liquefying helium, with capacity of 2000 l/h are completely designed and made by the specialists of NPO “Geliymash”.

2. Helium isolation from natural gas

In Russia, in Orenburg helium processing factory (OHP) helium is isolated from natural gas containing 0.025% of helium. Complex gas processing with the isolation of helium, ethane, and wide spread light hydrocarbons (WSLH) significantly decreases product costing.

During 1980-1995 “GAZPROM” and “GELIYMASH” carried out large-scale projects concerning isolation, purification and liquefaction of helium with capacity of 10 million nm3/per year. All capacities of helium liquefaction are realized with technologies and equipment of NPO “Geliymash”. Helium obtained in Orenburg provides with 25% of the whole European helium needs.

Main processes of helium production from natural gas, which runs to treatment, consist of several basic technological stages: 

  • preliminary drying and purification of natural gas;
  • production of helium concentrate with helium content of 70%;
  • fine purification of helium from hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and neon;
  • production of commercial gas and liquid helium.

In most cases helium in the liquid state is transported with motor transport in cryogenic vessels with capacity of 40 m3.

3. Cryogenic helium plants (CHP), helium liquefier

Specialists of NPO “GELIYMASH” on the basis of high-performance turbo-expanders made a series of cryogenic liquefier of helium and refrigerators with different capacity. The plants are oriented to both liquefaction and refrigeration at 3.8 – 20 K. Depending on operating conditions and engineering problems, the schemes of the plants can be used with preliminary nitrogen cooling or without it, with a throttle or a vapor-liquid expander.

Created by NPO “GELIYMASH”, liquefiers of helium with liquid helium capacity of 700 l/h were delivered to the biggest European helium center - Orenburg Gas Processing Plant.

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Cryogenic helium plants and cryogenic complex, helium management systems of NPO “GELIYMASH” were used to create a superconducting cryogenerator in “The Institute of Electromechanics”, in Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna and in The Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino and many other companies.

One of the latest cryogenic helium plants created by NPO “GELIYMASH” was delivered to the Corporation “TVEL” in 2007 for testing superconducting elements that were designed for the European international project of a thermonuclear reactor.

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