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PRISM® Xenon Recovery Process


Air Products is offering for license a proprietary, adsorption-based process that provides a lower cost and inherently safer option to recover xenon from an oxygen stream such as the LOX purge from tonnage air separation facilities.  The new xenon recovery process, due to its inherent simplicity, sets a new technological benchmark for recovery of xenon compared with current process options that produce a crude xenon product.  Since xenon represents such a small fraction of air, it has historically been sourced from the LOX sump of tonnage cryogenic air separation facilities where it accumulates, albeit at low concentration.  The LOX sump, however, while a valuable source of xenon, contains undesirable impurities consisting of hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.  These impurities found in the LOX sump are very significant because the design, operation and cost of many of the process steps associated with xenon recovery are driven by the associated need to remove hydrocarbons from the oxygen feedstock, thereby avoiding an uncontrolled energy release.  Air Products’ PRISM®  xenon recovery process addresses these safety issues and simplifies production of a crude xenon product by separating and removing oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, olefins propane and heavier hydrocarbons through the adsorption process.  The nature of the adsorption operation minimizes the number of separation steps, thereby reducing capital and operating costs to produce a crude xenon product.  Additionally, the PRISM® xenon recovery process can be operated to produce a crude xenon product at a concentration higher than conventional crude xenon production processes, thereby significantly reducing the cost to transport crude xenon to offsite xenon purification facilities.  Additional offering feature:  As a component of the license offering for PRISM® xenon recovery process, Air Products will make available to licensees an optional purification service to process crude xenon to commercial grade purity.


In comparison with conventional retrofit crude xenon production facilities:

  • Lower capital cost
  • Lower variable costs
  • Smaller footprint
  • Safer operation
  • Higher crude xenon product concentraction (>6.0% xenon)
  • Significantly lower transportation costs for crude xenon
  • More rapid start-up/shutdown
  • Proven technology
  • Amenable to tonnage air separation sites with available LOX purge feed stream
  • Commercial scale PRISM® xenon recovery process  available as sale of equipment scope

IP Table


Priority Patent Docket No.

Process and Adsorbent for the Recovery of Krypton and Xenon for a Gas or liquid Stream US 6,658,894
Argon / Oxygen Selective X-zeolite US 6,432,17


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