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Is nitrogen better for wine production than argon?

  Posted in news on 20th May 2019

Nitrogen and argon can both be used for wine blanketing, purging tanks, and flushing so they are both used widely in the wine industry.

Both gases are, at first examination, ideally suited to these wine production processes, because they are both inert at room temperature. Other than their shared inertness however, there are significant differences to consider when choosing which gas to incorporate in to your wine production process.

Argon gas is around 1.4 times denser than nitrogen gas which can mislead some winemakers into assuming that because it is heavier, it will remain intact and unchanging when added to a tank’s headspace. However, this is not the case. Argon will mix with air via molecular diffusion, which is the same process which is at work when you plug an air freshener into one side of a room and a minute or two later you can smell it from the other side of the room.

 
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This misguided preference for argon’s density is what leads some winemakers to choose it over nitrogen, despite it being considerably more expensive, which in turn can limit their use of argon gas. Nitrogen gas makes up around 79% of air while argon only accounts for around 0.9% of air, which is why argon is so much more expensive to purchase.

Another factor which contributes to argon’s expense is that its only supply method is in tanks, unlike nitrogen which can be supplied via tanks or a nitrogen gas generator, which is much more economical. With a nitrogen gas generator for wine production there is one up-front payment for the generator and then nitrogen gas will never need to be purchased again, as it will be generated on-demand. This eliminates the need for vendor management which means no more placing orders, agreeing contracts, dealing with price increases or tolerating inflexible delivery schedules.

 
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Choosing a nitrogen gas generator for wine production also ensures a reliable gas supply. There is no need to worry about supply shortages affecting production when the gas is being generated onsite rather than being delivered. 

Another benefit for winemakers using a nitrogen generator is there is no need to store or move high pressure gas cylinders, which present a danger both because of their pressurized contents, and due to their being heavy and cumbersome to move.

As nitrogen gas protects wine just as effectively as argon, is less expensive and can be generated on-site, it simply makes more economic sense for winemakers to choose nitrogen for their wine production needs rather than argon. If you would like to bring the many benefits of a nitrogen generator to your wine production process, please contact us.

You can view our nitrogen generator solution for wine production here.

You may also be interested in:

Mobbot Mobile Wine Bottling User Story

Using i-Flow for Nitrogen Flushing

i-Flow: Nitrogen Generators for Wine Production


 

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*Figures for illustration purposes only & may vary based on specific requirements. Investment cost amortized over typical generator lifespan.

Liquid/Bottled N2

= value EURO

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  • 100 000
  • 80 000
  • 60 000
  • 40 000
  • 20 000

Typical On-site N2 Generator*

= value EURO

  • 120 000
  • 100 000
  • 80 000
  • 60 000
  • 40 000
  • 20 000

i-Flow Generator*

= value EURO

  • 120 000
  • 100 000
  • 80 000
  • 60 000
  • 40 000
  • 20 000

Liquid/Bottled N2

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  • Lease equipment : value
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  • Total yearly cost : value

Typical On-site N2 Generator*

= value EURO

  • Cost of liquid/bottled N2 :value
  • Transport cost : value
  • Lease equipment : value
  • energy cost : value
  • Investment cost : value
  • Service cost : value
  • Environmental Tax : value
  • Total yearly cost : value

i-Flow Generator*

= value EURO

  • Cost of liquid/bottled N2 :value
  • Transport cost : value
  • Lease equipment : value
  • energy cost : value
  • Investment cost : value
  • Service cost : value
  • Environmental Tax : value
  • Total yearly cost : value
  • liquid/bottled N2Cost of liquid/bottled N2
  • InvestmentInvestment cost
  • TransportTransport cost
  • ServiceService cost
  • LeaseLease equipment
  • EnvironmentalEnvironmental Tax
  • EnergyEnergy cost