15th November 2018

Lab Gas Price Bulletin November 2018

A major gas company has increased the gas price for hydrogen and nitrogen gases in North America. This will have a knock-on effect for laboratories who buy nitrogen to supply their instruments. Labs can avoid the gas price increases by replacing their bulk supply with a nitrogen generator.

On the 1st of October Air Products increased gas prices for liquid nitrogen, as well as increasing prices for liquid and bulk hydrogen, liquid argon, liquid oxygen and liquid carbon dioxide.

The price increases are significant with an increase of up to 15% for nitrogen whilst liquid and bulk hydrogen prices increased by up to 25%. Worrying as this will be for many lab managers, who need to factor hydrogen gas and nitrogen gas prices into their budgets, there is good news.

Rather than purchasing nitrogen in bulk to supply gas to laboratory instruments, laboratories can use a nitrogen generator to provide the instrument gas they require. Buying a nitrogen generator gives laboratory managers much more control over their gas costs, as the gas supply will never be subject to gas price increases when the laboratory is producing it with their own nitrogen generator. With a one-off purchase cost for a gas generator and a maintenance contract which can be locked in at a fixed price for multiple years, gas generator costs are not only much cheaper over time, they are much more predictable and manageable for laboratory budgets, and generating your own gas costs less too. With the regularity of price increases, the cost argument to buy nitrogen just once with the one-off purchase of a generator only becomes stronger, when was the last time you heard of a price decrease for bulk supplied gas?

Genius XE nitrogen gas generators

Genius XE nitrogen generators for LC-MS and ELSD

Besides the lower costs of using a nitrogen generator rather than needing to buy nitrogen repeatedly via gas cylinders, a gas generator will bring many other benefits to your laboratory. With a gas generator your instrument gas supply will never run out mid-analysis as can happen with a gas cylinder and there is no need for the regular monitoring required with a gas cylinder to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Want to eliminate gas cylinders from your lab?    


A gas generator also eliminates the need for laboratory staff to move heavy gas cylinders and change them over when they run out. This removes the need for the health and safety training for laboratory personnel to move heavy and dangerous compressed gas cylinders.

A nitrogen generator will also produce a consistent purity of gas unlike gas cylinders, which can vary in purity not only from cylinder to cylinder but also from first to last use of a single cylinder. The varying purity of gas within a cylinder is why it is recommended to abandon the last 10% of gas within a cylinder as this will contain the bulk of contaminants and impurities. This gas which will need to be abandoned is something that must be considered every time a lab must estimate their gas requirement before they buy nitrogen.

With the energy required to compress gas for storage in cylinders and the repeated deliveries required when using gas cylinders, a gas generator is a much more environmentally friendly option. Once it has been installed in your lab a gas generator doesn’t need to move, eliminating the repeated transport of gas cylinder deliveries to and from your lab and eliminating the environmental impact that these would have.

It’s clear that for laboratories which are using nitrogen cylinders, a nitrogen generator would be a safer, more cost-effective and convenient option to meet their instrument gas needs. With this price hike from Air Products just the latest in an ongoing saga of gas price increases over the last several years, laboratories would be prudent to switch to gas generators wherever possible to avoid being subject to further inevitable increases in gas prices.



Issue 162 of Gasworld Global Edition


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