No Two Cryomech Helium Recovery Systems are the Same

Helium recovery can be categorized into small, medium, or large scale, and everything in between. We would like to share with you examples of three recently installed Cryomech Helium Recovery Systems to help you determine what level of helium recycling may be most suitable for your needs.

Currently, there are more than 50 Cryomech Helium Recovery Systems in operation worldwide. The systems range in both size and complexity, but the one thing they all have in common is upon installation, the lab is more self sufficient in terms of their helium supply and have fewer worries as to whether or not they will have the liquid helium they need to continue their research.

Let’s start small and work our way up. In early 2013 a small, private, research university contacted Cryomech about our Liquid Helium Plant 15. They were seeking direct recovery for their cryostat that has an average daily boil-off rate of 10L/day. After working with Cryomech’s Sales & Engineering departments it was determined that the best solution would be a Medium Pressure Helium Recovery System with the LHeP15 that has a 60L storage Dewar. This allows for the university to leave the system unattended for weekends and holidays without concern of losing costly helium.

Second generation Cryomech Liquid Helium Plant. Patent No. 8,671,698

Second generation Cryomech Liquid Helium Plant. Patent No. 8,671,698.

The primary responsibility of the university was to install the atmospheric recovery piping from their magnets to the recovery bag. The process of installing the Recovery System and producing liquid took less than 2 business days for Cryomech technicians.

This process was able to progress much more quickly because the users were able to organize their usage in a manner that showed the daily boil-off rates, bath volumes, and the fill schedules for each of their devices. They also had done some preplanning of their own and allocated a centralized location for the Recovery System to reside. This enabled John Ketcham (our resident Helium Recovery specialist) to calculate the needs of the user and the space restraints quickly. Since the installation of their Helium Recovery System two other labs from the same university have had their own Helium Recovery Systems installed.

This is not to say that the availability (or lack thereof) of a centralized space should deter you from considering helium recovery. The Cryomech Recovery System is designed to be modular and all of the primary components can be up to 100 feet apart. Below is a photo of an installation that was done in France (where space is at a premium). The user required a large volume of liquid for transfers and the LHeP60 was determined to be the best option for their needs. In this lab, the user directly recovers into the liquefiers, and the LHeP lives in the hallway. While not ideal, it offers the user the appropriate level of recovery and does not require major building modifications. Please contact cryosales@cryomech.com for more information regarding direct recovery options.

Three compressors and LHeP60 installed as part of a Helium Recovery System in France

Three compressors and LHeP60 installed as part of a Helium Recovery System in France.

The largest Helium Recovery System that has been installed within the last 6 months went to a private research organization that has four low temperature cryostats with an average daily boil-off rate of 100 liters per day. The solution they selected was a Medium Pressure Helium Recovery System with two LHeP60s. The system is slightly oversized to allow for future expansion.

In this location, the user allocated two labs that were no longer in use as their central helium recovery room. The location of these two labs is perfect for the users of the four main systems today and is close enough to bring other helium users online in the future. With multiple users being able to access our remote monitoring system, you don’t even have to walk down the hall to verify how much liquid is in the Dewar.

This user also made an aggressive decision in terms of gas storage. When sizing their system, they requested that Cryomech include in the quotation enough cylinder storage to ensure if the helium plants became inoperable when no one was in the building (over the weekend or holidays), they could still recover their entire boil-off in gas form. 12 cylinders later, the user now has the peace of mind to know their helium is protected even in the event of an operational issue.

If you’re interested in finding the right solution for your helium boil-off, please contact cryosales today.

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