On-site Nitrogen Gas Generator is also a safer solution

  • Membrane Nitrogen Generators has been used in laboratory analysis for decades. In the past, labs were required to have their nitrogen gas supply delivered in cylinders or in bottles from their closest nitrogen plant, which for some labs could be some distance away. These cylinders or bottles would then supply a chromatography instrument, or perhaps a detector in the case of GC, allowing the lab to carry out its analysis.

    However, for most mass spectrometers a high volumes of gas is required meaning cylinders or bottles would be consumed in a matter of days, primarily when using LC-MS. This can lead to the regular interruption of analysis and inconvenience of switching over cylinders for analysis to continue. Furthermore, cylinders and bottles deliver inconsistent purity when they reach the lower end of their capacity as contaminants can enter the empty space in the cylinder and mix with the nitrogen. These impurities can have an impact on the integrity of analysis as they can react with the sample.

    There is an alternative for nitrogen cylinders, an on-site nitrogen generator. A nitrogen gas generator not only removes the hassle of having to change over cylinders, it provides an uninterrupted supply of gas at a consistent purity. This consistency is generated using one of two technologies, namely, Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) and membrane nitrogen.

    On-site gas generation is also a safer solution than using cylinders. Staff are not required to carry or transport heavy cylinders around the laboratory or facility. There are also cost benefits as on-site nitrogen gas production reduces the administrative burden of ordering cylinders (raising Purchase Orders and scheduling deliveries), paying delivery fees and fluctuating costs from month to month, as the market price of nitrogen is subject to supply and demand volatility. Also to be considered are the environmental benefits of not having continuous deliveries of gas and the production of the gas itself at a nitrogen plant requires vast amounts of energy consumption.

    The landscape of laboratory Nitrogen Gas Generator supply has been modernised with the introduction of N2 generators bringing on-site gas generation to labs. Thousands of labs around the world have upgraded to this more efficient method of supplying gas to their LC-MS and GC applications. Those who are yet to do so should be looking to update their lab in the near future as the uncertainty of bulk gas supply could leave them uncompetitive and inefficient.