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Divisions > Industrial gases > Applications of oxygen

Applications of oxygen

Oxygen is used in diverse applications covering many industries, including:
Chemical processing
To alter the structure of feedstocks through oxidation, producing nitric acid, ethylene oxide, propylene oxide, vinyl chloride monomer and other building block chemicals; and to increase capacity and destruction efficiency of waste incinerators.
Glass manufacturing
To enhance combustion in glass furnaces and forehearths, reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions to levels below new stringent requirements.
Health services
To resuscitate or, in combination with other gases, to anaesthetise; but also essential to life-support systems used in emergencies or long-term treatment of patients with respiratory disorders.
Metal fabrication
To support oxyfuel cutting operations. Sometimes added in small quantities for shielding gases.
Metal production
To replace or enrich air, increasing combustion temperatures in ferrous and non-ferrous metals production; to create a hot flame in high-temperature welding torches used in cutting and welding.
Recovery and refining – to reduce viscosity and improve flow in oil and gas wells; to increase capacity of fluid catalytic cracking plants as well as to facilitate use of heavier feedstocks; and to reduce sulphur emissions in refineries.
Pulp and paper
To help manufacturers meet stringent environmental regulations in a variety of mill processes including delignification, bleaching, oxidative extraction, chemical recovery, white/black liquor oxidation and lime kiln enrichment.
Steel manufacturing
To enrich air and increase combustion temperatures in blast and open hearth furnaces; to raise steel temperatures and enhance recycling of scrap metal in electric arc furnaces; and to replace coke as the combustible in steel making.
Water/wastewater treatment
Owing to its life-supporting nature, oxygen is used in industrial and municipal water/wastewater treatment facilities. Using 90 to 99 percent oxygen instead of air boosts the biological activity required to eliminate wastes in water. And, with a 90+ per cent utilisation rate, oxygen provides an efficient and economical method.