Liquid nitrogen is proven to be a successful coolant, but some may be cautious to make the change as they may think it is hazardous, expensive, or simply too much inconvenience to manage.
With its substantial advances in liquid nitrogen storage and delivery and proven performance as a refrigerant, it may be time to readdress any anxieties over switching.
In light of this, this article will provide answers to nine of the widespread issues for laboratory managers who are contemplating changing over to liquid nitrogen.
Does the Facility Have to Constantly Arrange Deliveries and Monitor LN2 Levels?
Remote monitoring is included in all Air Products bulk tanks. The levels in the tank are directly analysed, and when a pre-determined fill level is attained, delivery will be instantly arranged. This reduces the possibility of a shortage and usually excludes the need to organise deliveries.
Does the Usage of Liquid Nitrogen Need to be High to Get a Tank?
External tanks can be as small as 200 L, or, depending on their size and efficiency, this can be equivalent to just two to three cryogenic freezers in terms of consumption.
There is Not Enough Space to Put an External Tank Outside
The most recent CryoEase® tanks are not permanently constructed and do not require a concrete plinth. They can also be provided on wheels, which provides a greater degree of flexibility regarding refilling access.
The Deliveries Will Interrupt Day-to-Day Work
As the tank is kept outside, there is no need for the delivery team to distract the laboratory’s crucial day-to-day work. The team can refill the tank and leave as long as they can access the fill point.
There is Not Enough Time to Keep Monitoring LN2 Levels in the Freezer and Topping It Up
Contemporary cryogenic freezers are highly advanced, with automatic valves and level sensors. They can evaluate levels in the freezer and source more LN2 from the tank as required with no manual input.
What About the Risk of Asphyxiation in the Laboratory?
Liquid nitrogen increases in volume up to 695 times when it vaporises, which can easily displace the oxygen in a room, however, the Air Products team are gas experts and safety is their top concern.
Air Products will complete all of the calculations to help the manager to understand the risks associated with the installation and will make sure that all-important safety precautions have been taken prior to activating the new system.
What About Liquid Nitrogen Burns?
Without the correct training and relevant PPE, liquid nitrogen drag-out can be an immediate concern in liquid storage freezers.
A solution to this risk could be to choose from the varied range of cryogenic freezers that store samples in nitrogen vapor. In this freezer, liquid nitrogen never comes into direct contact with the samples and only a negligible amount is stored in the sump of the freezer.
When handling samples from any kind of cryogenic freezer, PPE must be worn at all times to mitigate injury.
Liquid Nitrogen, Deliveries, and Tanks - It’s All Going to Cost a Fortune
Liquid nitrogen may be less expensive than it is assumed to be, and external liquid nitrogen tanks are rented instead of purchased in full. It may be a surprise to contrast the electricity bill for a mechanical freezer with the expenses involved with LN2 deliveries and supply.
In one case study, customers who have switched from mechanical freezes to the MVE Variō™ series have actually noticed a decrease in total operating costs by up to 70%.
This excludes the cost of operating the HVAC system required for the displacement of heat produced within the laboratory from the mechanical freezer.
How Does the Liquid Nitrogen Get to the Laboratory if the Tank is Outside?
Air Products can project manage each installation, including the path of the super-insulated vacuum line (SIVL) which will quickly move the liquid nitrogen from the external tank to the laboratory freezer and where the tank will be positioned outside.
As with the majority of potential dangers in a laboratory, liquid nitrogen should be handled appropriately and respected, but there is no reason why it cannot be easily incorporated in the processes of any laboratory.
It is important to note the range of advantages of employing liquid nitrogen as a coolant. It is cost-effective, efficient, and can substantially decrease the energy bills of any laboratory.
About Air Products PLC
Air Products touch the lives of consumers around the globe in positive ways every day. With approximately 16,000 employees and operations in 50 countries, we serve customers across a wide range of industries from food and beverage to medical, energy, and transportation. We supply a unique portfolio of atmospheric and process gases, equipment, and services.
Founded in 1940, Air Products has built a reputation for its innovative culture, operational excellence, and commitment to safety and the environment. Our passionate, talented, and committed employees from a diversity of backgrounds are driven by Air Products’ higher purpose to create innovative solutions that benefit the environment, enhance sustainability and address the challenges facing customers, communities, and the world.
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