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Nitrogen and on-site nitrogen generators

Nitrogen generators are now used in laboratories all over the world to supply various analytical instruments with nitrogen gas at the push of a button. A nitrogen generator is the most efficient way to supply instrument gas as, unlike gas cylinders, a gas generator never runs out of gas and constantly supplies a consistent purity of gas. Nitrogen, for those who don’t know, is an inert gas meaning it is not very reactive with other elements and chemicals. Nitrogen is highly abundant, accounting for around 78% of the earth’s atmosphere meaning we breathe in more nitrogen than any other element every day.

Atomic number 7, discovered in 1772 by Daniel Rutherford, nitrogen is an inert gas meaning it is not very reactive with other elements and chemicals. Nitrogen is highly abundant, accounting for around 78% of the earth’s atmosphere meaning we breathe in more nitrogen than any other element every day.

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Nitrogen use in the lab

Nitrogen gas 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 take a few days to deliver. These cylinders or bottles would then supply an LC-MS 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 volume of nitrogen gas is required meaning that cylinders or bottles could be consumed in a matter of days, when using an LC-MS instrument. This can result in regular interruptions of analysis and the inconvenience of having to switch over cylinders or wait for nitrogen deliveries. There is also the added inconvenience of the inconsistent purity delivered by cylinders and bottles when they reach the lower end of their capacity. This is because contaminants can enter the empty space in the cylinder. These impurities can have an impact on the integrity of analysis as they can react with the sample.

These inconsistencies and inconveniences are eliminated by a nitrogen gas generator which is why more and more labs are turning to nitrogen gas generators to supply their instrument gas. Also, a nitrogen gas generator is especially suitable for time-critical applications where there is no time for the analysis to be halted while gas cylinders are changed over.

To improve your lab with a nitrogen generator    

Nitrogen generators in the lab

On-site gas generation is also a safer solution than using cylinders as staff are not required to move heavy cylinders around the laboratory. 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. On top of this, the price for gas which is delivered in cylinders can fluctuate from month to month, as the market price of nitrogen gas is subject to supply and demand volatility. It is also necessary to consider the environmental benefits of eliminating continuous deliveries of gas. The production of the gas itself must also be taken into account as producing gas at a nitrogen plant requires vast amounts of energy consumption.

Fortunately, 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 generators.

Peak Scientific on-site gas generators

Peak Scientific on-site nitrogen generators

The modern landscape of laboratory nitrogen gas has been permanently altered with the introduction of nitrogen 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 due to the uncertainty and inconvenience of bulk gas supply. Why not switch to a Peak Scientific nitrogen generator, which we believe are the most reliable nitrogen generators on the market, with 24-hour support available and a 95% onsite fix rate, contact one of our specialists today.

To find out more about Peak nitrogen generators    

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References:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen

2. http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/7/nitrogen

3. http://periodic.lanl.gov/7.shtml

4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_swing_adsorption

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_generator#Membrane_technology

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