Implementing Nitrogen Generators in Laboratory Settings: A Guide

Implementing Nitrogen Generators in Laboratory Settings: A Guide

Nitrogen gas (N2) is a crucial element in many laboratory applications. It’s inert, non-reactive, and helps prevent oxidation or contamination. Traditionally, laboratories relied on delivered liquid nitrogen or bulky nitrogen tanks. However, nitrogen generators offer a safe, convenient, and cost-effective alternative.

Benefits of Nitrogen Generators:

  • Cost-effective: Over time, nitrogen generator can significantly reduce costs compared to purchasing and refilling liquid nitrogen or renting tanks.
  • Convenience: Generators eliminate the need for deliveries or tank changes, improving lab workflow.
  • Safety: Generators avoid the hazards associated with handling and storing liquid nitrogen, such as cryogenic burns and asphyxiation risks.
  • On-demand supply: Generators provide a continuous, reliable source of nitrogen, eliminating concerns about running out mid-experiment.
  • Environmentally friendly: Generators produce nitrogen on-site, minimizing transportation emissions and waste associated with delivered nitrogen.
Factor Description
Nitrogen Purity Requirements Different applications require varying levels of nitrogen purity. Common purities range from 95% (e.g., inerting chromatography columns) to 99.999% (e.g., ICP-MS).
Flow Rate Requirements The generator’s capacity to produce nitrogen should match your lab’s peak demand. Consider future needs and potential expansion.
Generator Technology There are two main types: Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) and Membrane Separation. PSA is generally more cost-effective but has lower flow rates. Membranes offer higher flow rates but may have higher initial costs.
Lab Space Availability Generators come in various sizes. Choose a model that fits comfortably within your designated space.
Maintenance Requirements Generators require periodic maintenance. Consider the ease of access for service personnel and the availability of service contracts.

Implementing Your Nitrogen Generator:

  • Consult with a Gas Specialist: Discuss your specific lab needs and application requirements with a qualified gas specialist. They can recommend the most suitable generator model.
  • Site Preparation: Ensure the designated location for the generator has proper ventilation, meets electrical requirements, and provides easy access for operation and maintenance.
  • Installation: Have a qualified technician install the generator according to manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Training: Ensure lab personnel receive proper training on operating the generator safely and efficiently.

Best Practices for Operating and Maintaining Your Nitrogen Generator:

  • Regular Filter Changes: Replace air intake filters as per manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure optimal performance and lifespan.
  • Periodic Maintenance: Schedule regular preventive maintenance with a qualified technician to ensure smooth operation and prevent potential issues.
  • Monitoring Nitrogen Purity: Monitor nitrogen purity levels regularly to ensure they meet your application requirements.
  • Leak Detection: Conduct regular leak checks to identify and address any potential leaks promptly.
  • Safety Protocols: Follow established safety protocols for handling compressed gas. This includes wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and being aware of potential hazards.


Nitrogen generators offer a compelling alternative to traditional methods of obtaining nitrogen for laboratory use. They provide a safe, convenient, and cost-effective solution while minimizing environmental impact. By carefully considering your lab’s needs, choosing the appropriate generator, and following best practices for operation and maintenance, you can ensure a reliable and efficient source of nitrogen for your research endeavors.

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