Labs running LCMS (Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) experiments require a source of extremely pure nitrogen. This nitrogen can either come in the form of pressurized containers delivered to the lab, or it can be generated on-site via an electrolyzer.
Hazards of Nitrogen Leakage
When nitrogen is delivered it comes in the form of high-pressure cylinders or dewars of liquid nitrogen. Both of which carry their own safety hazards with the risk of leaking gaseous nitrogen causing a risk of asphyxiation being a key issue. In addition, depending on liquid nitrogen delivery can result in logistical problems, and labs are also victim to fluctuations in price due to the supply and demand of the gas.
When a cylinder or dewar runs out, researchers must change it to new full cylinder/dewar themselves which is both laborious and dangerous. Additionally, this process can introduce contaminants into the gas supply, which can create problems in the subsequent LCMS analysis.
A standard LCMS system needs to be fed between 800 – 1000 L of nitrogen gas every day. This means a lab with 6 LCMS systems running around the clock needs to change their cylinder every one and half days or to change a dewar every 10-15 days – this is obviously not ideal.
By using on-site nitrogen generation, instead of nitrogen delivery, lab managers can reduce the cost of their nitrogen supplies, improve the purity of the nitrogen that they use, and also create a safer and more efficient working environment. On-site generators use an electrolytic method, using PSA or membrane technology to remove nitrogen from the surrounding air. This removes the need for researchers to change gas cylinders or dewars and eliminates the risk of asphyxiation from nitrogen.
Making the decision to start generating nitrogen on-site, rather than continuing to rely on deliveries, is easy for most researchers working in small labs. This is because small generators are safer and provide a constant stream of highly pure nitrogen. However, larger labs have a harder decision to make. As larger labs tend to have multiple LCMS systems they would need multiple generators to accommodate their nitrogen needs, which can make purchasing generators prohibitively expensive.
To address this problem, large labs should consider installing a single nitrogen lab server – this is a centralized gas generator which can feed nitrogen to several different LCMS systems. Nitrogen servers have the capacity to feed into several different labs and despite this, installation only takes a few hours. Nitrogen lab servers eliminate the need for labs needing to handle bulky, cumbersome and ultimately dangerous cylinders and dewars. This saves labs money and keeps researchers safer.
N250M and N400M Nitrogen Servers
The N250M and N400M, from Proton OnSite, are nitrogen servers capable of simultaneously feeding nitrogen to several LCMS systems. These generators take compressed air and, via membrane-based electrolysis, produce nitrogen of a high purity.
One N400M nitrogen server can provide nitrogen to 10 to 20 LCMS systems with a total flow rate of 4000 SLMP. Both the N250M and the N400M are economical and reliable methods of generating a nitrogen supply in-house – improving lab safety, guaranteeing a supply whenever it is required, and benefiting research productivity.
On-Site Gas Generators
For more than 20 years Proton OnSite has been producing on-site gas generators which their customers can depend on. Proton OnSite has delivered more than 2600 gas generators to more than 75 countries for a varied range of applications – from LCMS and GC to energy storage and industrial applications.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Proton OnSite.
For more information on this source, please visit Proton OnSite.