Bruce Peat

21st April 2017

Lab gas generators - a better alternative to cylinders

The majority of laboratories worldwide use gas cylinders to supply their analytical instruments, sample prep systems and other lab applications - but there is a better alternative to cylinders.

The major industrial nitrogen suppliers often tie customers into long contracts, offering a solution that may appear cheap when viewed as a monthly cost and convenient as it can easily be built into lab overheads but when compared to a nitrogen gas generator it is easy to see why a gas generator is a better alternative to cylinders, and not only from the perspective of cost. Gases are required for analyses, and an established solution is in place which is paid along with the electricity and heating bills so the cycle of cylinder orders, deliveries, collections and invoice payments continues.

Peak Scientific have been manufacturing gas generators for thousands of labs throughout the world for over a decade offering a safer, more convenient and cost effective alternative to cylinders. An LC-MS using 32 litres per minute of nitrogen for 8h per day will consume around 5.5 million litres of Nitrogen in 1 year of operation. This is equivalent to 620 cylinders. Now if we look at the costs associated with ordering 620 nitrogen cylinders, this breaks down in the following way:

Cost of gas: $18600 ($30 per cylinder)

Cost of cylinder rental: $600 ($50 per month)

Delivery cost: $3720 ($30 per delivery of 5 cylinders)

Total cost: $23000

At a cost of just under $2000 per month, this is not an inconsiderable amount, but an amount that can be absorbed into a lab’s overhead costs. However, what is not factored into these costs is the time taken for ordering, cylinder installation, processing of paperwork and a whole host of other factors that use employee time.

Now if we take the example above and look at the costs associated with the purchase, installation and running costs of a generator which produces 32 litres per minute of nitrogen to supply the LC-MS:

Generator + installation: $16000

Power consumption: $800 (8h per day @ 1.6 kWh for 365 days)

Total cost: $16800

We see that within 1 year, we would already have paid back the cost of the generator with money to spare and from that point onward, the only costs associated with the generator are maintenance and running costs (electricity), which are negligible compared with the costs associated with cylinder deliveries, rental, administrative time and many other hidden costs associated with cylinders.

Nevertheless, many labs need to continue using the monthly payment method they currently use with gas cylinders either due to not having budget for a moderate capital expenditure or because they are locked into an opex budgeting system. This is why Peak Scientific has launched an innovative product, FlexFlow. With the Flexflow gas generator rental program, labs can enjoy all of the benefits of a gas generator for a modest monthly cost which can save up to 50% against cylinder supply.

To save up to 50% on your lab gas    


With FlexFlow, labs simply get the high purity gas required for their instruments, all servicing is included in the price and, unlike gas cylinders supplied by the major industrial gas suppliers who regularly increase their prices, the price is fixed for several years. There are numerous benefits of switching from cylinders to generators beyond just price too. Safety and workflow efficiencies are also two important considerations where a generator is far superior to gas cylinders for laboratory analysis.

Watch our Flexflow video to see the benefits of switching from gas cylinder supply to a gas generator rental program.

Like this article? Why not read about our new Solaris nitrogen generator for ELSD and Micro Mass Spectrometers.

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