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Is Hydrogen Generator the Best Option in Laboratories?


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In laboratories, hydrogen gas is used more than any other gas. The popularity of hydrogen gas is mainly due to its advantages of resolution, speed of analysis, as a fuel gas for GC-FID applications and sensitivity over other gases. There are several options for supplying hydrogen gas including point-of-use hydrogen cylinders, multi-cylinder configurations, and hydrogen generators. Hydrogen generators, one of the widely used laboratory gas generators, are gaining popularity and replacing other options quickly. Here we will have a brief look on the reasons due to which they are substituting other options.

Advantages of Hydrogen Generator
Hydrogen generators are one of the mostly used laboratory equipments. Here are the benefits over other traditional sources.

  • Hydrogen generators are considered the safest option for sourcing hydrogen in labs. It eliminates the risk of carrying high-pressure cylinders and storing large volume flammable hydrogen on the premises. Some of the hydrogen gas generators units are attached with alarms, which alerts the users and shut down the system in case of any malfunctioning.
  • Once installed properly and start operating, hydrogen generators give high purity gases continuously. There is no such problem of changing cylinders as in case of hydrogen cylinders.
  • They keep giving highly pure hydrogen gases constantly, eliminating gas purity as an operating variable in the analysis providing reliability for the GC system.
  • Hydrogen generators are usually small in size as compared to the gas cylinders and so can be easily placed on lab bench without consuming much of the bench space.

Concerns and Considerations of Hydrogen Generator

  • Some of the hydrogen generator models supply hydrogen at only 60-100 psig. In some labs it could be a problem if the generators are located remotely to the GC or when several laboratory gas generators are connected to one generator.
  • The cost of a typical hydrogen generator lies in the range of $5000-$8000. Due to high cost it may be a consideration for some laboratories. But it should be compared to the current costs of cylinder product, cylinder rental, and cylinder handling to fully understand the impact of the investment.
  • Proper maintenance is required for proper functioning. Some generators need additional caustic electrolyte solution for the production of hydrogen. Some models require the monitoring and changing of desiccant cartridges to remove residual moisture from the hydrogen.

I am a laboratory analyst by profession working in this industry from last 10 years. I have been running a site on laboratory equipments. It includes the largest range of laboratory apparatus and other updated info on market, trade fairs, news, etc.


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