The safer and convenient alternative to helium for GC carrier gas.
What is a hydrogen generator and how it works?
Hydrogen generators are a safe and convenient alternative and are generally a more cost-effective solution to the use of high-pressure H2 cylinders. Unlike cylinders, hydrogen generators offer consistent purity for more reliable results, eliminating the risk of contamination when changing cylinders.
Hydrogen is produced using distilled or deionized water < 0.1 μS from hydrolysis, through a polymeric ion exchange membrane.
Electrolytic dissociation separates the water into its two main components: hydrogen ready for analysis, and oxygen that is released into the ambient air.
The hydrogen produced is dried using different technologies, adsorption drying with automatic regeneration on two cartridges, desiccant cartridge drying and Permapure drying. Depending on the hydrogen drying technology, the purity of the gas obtained will be different.
The differents Hydrogen Purification Technology available
PEM – Absorbent Pressure Swing Adsorption Dryer System
Adsorption drying technology works by alternating the flow through two columns filled with molecular sieve. While the hydrogen passes through one column to be dried, a small amount of gas is passed through the second column to regenerate the adsorbent. Regularly, the two columns alternate between purification and regeneration mode, which increases the life of the cartridges so that they do not have to be replaced. This technology provides high purity hydrogen quality with an O2 content < 0.1 ppm and a dew point < -75°C. As an option, it is possible to add a cold palladium catalyst to reduce the oxygen level to < 0.01 ppm and the humidity < 1 ppm.
PEM – Molecular Desiccant Cartdridge System
The cartridge drying system removes moisture from the hydrogen gas via a silica bead absorbent. This technology is very common and easy to use. It is sufficient to change the desiccant when it is saturated with water.
PEM – Permapure Dryer System
Permapure technology dries hydrogen by transferring the molecules from one side of the membrane to the other by kinetic force, leaving the hydrogen gas stream intact and free of moisture. This technology is the most economical but also the one that offers the lowest hydrogen purity.
The F-DGSi range
COSMOS hydrogen generators are an essential and safer alternative to gas cylinders. Today, laboratories are turning to this solution to supply GC detectors and carrier gas. Combining convenience and reliability, our hydrogen generators can thus meet their requirements by offering a constant gas quality and numerous safety features compared to traditional gas sources. Depending on the sensitivity required for your analysis, three models of hydrogen generators are available. The design of these generators have been conceived to be easily integrated on a bench.
The Rack Series hydrogen generators have the same technologies and characteristics as a COSMOS generator. However, the design is revised to be integrated in standard size racks (19 inches), which gives them a significant space saving. This system is ideal for laboratories with no space on their bench.
Hydrogen generators is the safer and convenient alternative
Swap the gas cylinders for a Hydrogen generator
Hydrogen generators have become the preferred method of using hydrogen in the laboratory because they are safer and less bulky, less dangerous than gas cylinders. By simple electrolysis of water, our hydrogen generators will deliver, on demand, a quality of high purity gas that your applications need such as the supply of detectors and GC carrier gases. Once installed, a hydrogen generator will provide hydrogen with constant purity 24 hours a day.
A hydrogen generator avoids any breakdown of analyzes compared to the gas cylinders which will have to be ordered and replaced and eliminates the risk of variation in the quality of the gas. In fact, when changing cylinders, contaminants can enter the gas lines, affecting the analysis results.
In terms of safety, a hydrogen generator has several advantages:
- it produces gas on demand, which means that only the amount needed for GC is produced at a regulated flow rate and controlled pressure.
- it is equipped with internal and external leak checks as well as an automatic shut-off function to stop the production of hydrogen.
- the volume of internal hydrogen stored is small (<50ml), compared to cylinders that store up to 9000 L at extremely high pressure (~ 2000-3000 psi).
- it has the detection of various faults (water quality and level, information on the condition of the cell).
- real-time monitoring of gas pressure to prevent overpressure and the flow of hydrogen produced.
- it can be connected to a hydrogen probe to detect the presence of hydrogen in the GC oven.
Swap from Helium to Hydrogen
Helium is commonly used in gas chromatography (GC) as a carrier gas. But the difficulty in obtaining this gas has prompted laboratories to reconsider their supply of the gas, which can lead to delays in sample analysis and overall disruption of daily workflow. Indeed, a helium shortage has begun to surface. As a result, many laboratories are now turning to hydrogen as an alternative to helium, the price of which is increasing as its availability continues to decrease year after year. When all the criteria are taken into account, it is easy to understand what motivates them: reliability, speed of analysis (cut in half), economy and peace of mind.
As a result, many GC manufacturers have actively begun to recommend replacing helium with hydrogen gas by using a hydrogen generator as the carrier gas.
Gas generators are more reliable, safer, more aesthetically pleasing, take up less space, and do not require moving bulky cylinders around the lab.
Hydrogen has many advantages:
- Faster analysis: The diffusion rate of hydrogen and helium is about the same, but hydrogen is half as viscous as helium and, therefore, the linear velocity of the gas is higher and retention times are shorter in isothermal analysis.
- High efficiency: Hydrogen has the flattest Van Deemter curve compared to helium and nitrogen, hydrogen needs the lowest number of plates to achieve the same resolution over a wide range of linear velocities.
- Cost reduction: A GC grade hydrogen tank is about 3 times less expensive than its helium equivalent.
- Availability: Hydrogen is readily available through water electrolysis and with an F-DGSi gas generator, it can be produced on demand.
- More environmentally friendly: A hydrogen generator requires only a single delivery for installation. From then on, your hydrogen generator stays in the lab. Plus, it produces hydrogen gas from deionized water.
You don’t have to worry about running out of carrier gas mid-analysis!
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