by Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
36th Wing Public Affairs
11/30/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- This
week, the 36th Mission Support Group highlights the 36th Logistics
Readiness Squadron's fuels management cryogenics production element.
Unique to a few locations in the Air Force, the team utilizes cryogenic
technology to provide pure, clean breathing oxygen and clean, dry
nitrogen in support of a multitude of units' aviation, medical and
"Since Andersen is geographically separated from other reliable sources,
it is necessary and more cost effective to be able to produce liquid
oxygen and nitrogen on site," said Staff Sgt. John Loker, 36th LRS fuels
management cryogenics production supervisor. "This ability, coupled
with facilities to service high-pressure cylinders, allow us to be
completely self-sufficient and able to support everything from the fire
department's nitrogen charged suppression system to the medical group's
liquid nitrogen needs to providing pilots with breathable oxygen."
Cryogenics production is the process of super cooling normal, outside
air and causing the two main elements, oxygen and nitrogen, to liquefy.
Each element liquefies at a different temperature; thus, depending on
the desired product, incoming air cooled to a certain temperature will
cause only one of the two elements to liquefy and be extracted.
The product then goes through separate purification processes until the
required purity of 99.5 percent or greater is reached. From there the
oxygen or nitrogen is stored in tanks in a liquid state until needed by
Cryogenics as a whole is a vital element, especially in supporting aircraft units.
"Oxygen is necessary for high-altitude flight," said Sergeant Loker.
"With liquid being 4,000 times more condensed than gas, a few gallons
can support breathing for a significant amount of time. Nitrogen is a
non-reactive, temperature stable gas making it useful for maintenance
requiring thermal shrinking of parts. In gaseous form, it is also ideal
for filling aircraft struts and tires."
In continuing efforts to improve the efficiency of operation, while also
solving maintenance issues, the cryogenics production element is
currently making preparations for the addition of the incoming cryogenic
plant, previously installed at Lajes Field, Azores.
"This plant, a much needed replacement, is currently back at Integrated
Nitrogen Systems in California completing an overhaul with
state-of-the-art upgrades," said Sergeant Loker. "When installed, the
addition will make our operation more efficient and provide an even
safer work environment."
With multiple units relying on the cryogenics production element to
provide liquid nitrogen and oxygen in order to accomplish missions, the
team continues to improve and expand, keeping Andersen well provided
with these elements and proving to be an asset within the Asia-Pacific