The situation: facing a number of challenges regarding the rising cost, security of supply and sustainability of helium for its six NMR magnets, the University of Edinburgh (UoE) and School of Chemistry considered what actions it could take to remedy the situation.
The solution: after much deliberation of various scenarios, the University chose a high-pressure helium recovery system, designed, installed and commissioned by Motivair. The system allowed the University to recover helium during magnet refills and everyday boil off, where previously the gas would have been lost to the atmosphere. Captured gas is then stored in a gas bag before a high-pressure compressor returns it to MCPs for collection by the supplier. As a result, UoE calculated that it was making a 22% saving on its annual NMR liquid helium costs, while ensuring security of supply via its vendor allocation.
The outcome: in the University’s own words ‘there is no doubt about sustainability!’. Conserving helium is a priority and recovering and reusing it is clearly advantageous. In addition, the finances also made a lot of sense with the University looking at five years payback for its initial investment in the helium recovery system. And, moving forward, the system allows the University to plan ahead with certainty and commit to more research projects for it and its sponsors.