Air Products speciality gases BIP® technology

BIP® gases – Cost savings:
more usable gas

Increase Productivity and Reduce Your Total Costs

Over many years, users of hundreds of thousands of BIP® helium, nitrogen, hydrogen and argon cylinders have realized many significant cost savings through:

  1. Elimination of External Purifiers
  2. Decreased Troubleshooting
  3. Increased Column Lifetimes
  4. More Usable Product Per Cylinder

Sometimes the productivity and cost improvements are incremental, but many small improvements over time always lead to significant total savings in the long run.

1. Elimination of External Purifiers

Have you ever thought about the total costs involved in the purchase and maintenance of your external purifiers? By eliminating the need for purifier trains, BIP® gases eliminate:

Hard Costs
  • Investment in purifier train hardware and components
  • Labour to install
  • Regular replacement hardware costs
  • Shipping and handling costs
  • Disposal costs
Soft Costs
  • Time to order replacement components (purchasing, laboratory, accounts receivable)
  • Labour to handle and deliver internally
  • Admin time to discuss and schedule changeovers
  • Time and labour to change out
  • Time to equilibrate instrument
  • Time and labour to leak-test the fittings
  • Time to update maintenance log
  • Time and labour to dispose of purifiers

Savings will vary from lab to lab — one lab paid for 75% of its gas usage by eliminating its purifier train. Also, keep in mind that several different departments [Purchasing, Accounts Receivable, Shipping, Stores] can improve productivity and reduce overhead costs when BIP® gases are substituted for in-line purifier trains.

"We have seen a 75% decrease in ECD cleaning and purifier maintenance costs."

— A Contract Analytical Laboratory in Letmathe, Germany—Lobbe GmbH

2. Decreased Troubleshooting

The GC gas supply and purifier train, the instrument itself, and the sample can all create baseline problems. When a baseline gets out of control, chromatographers typically start their troubleshooting with the gas supply. By the time new purifiers are ordered and received and cylinders are replaced, several days can slip by. Even worse, after spending time and money to verify the quality of the gas supply, the problem may still exist. BIP® gases can save those resources by categorically removing the gas supply from the troubleshooting equation. They decrease total instrument downtime, focus the troubleshooting process, and cut the time required to find the real answer.

3. Increased Column Lifetimes

Oxygen and moisture impurities in the carrier gas can quickly degrade certain GC columns, leading to eventual failure of the column. Because of their exceptional purity, BIP® gases have extended column lifetimes significantly, with corresponding large cost savings.

Column Lifetime test - LGC

We found that the BIP gases contributed to the longevity of cyanopropyl polysiloxane columns. Lifetimes were predicted to be more than 4 times longer compared with standard industrial gas grades having several ppm levels of oxygen impurity, which can result in up to 70% cost savings."

Dr. Anthony M. Edge, UK Laboratory of the Government Chemist [LGC]

4. More Usable Product per Cylinder

Most chromatographers avoid emptying a gas cylinder because impurity concentrations rise dramatically as the pressure drops below about 500 psig (34 barg). Emptying a cylinder decreases the lifetime of in-line purifiers and increases the probability of coating the regulators and gas lines with organic impurities (such as oils) that evaporate with water from the cylinder wall as the cylinder pressure decreases.

The Water (H2O) concentration in BIP®

The product gas quality in BIP® cylinders remains constant as the pressure in the cylinder decreases. So, there is more usable gas per cylinder which produces cost savings.

BIP® cylinders can eliminate this problem, as illustrated in a semi-log plot of the water vapor concentration in nitrogen as cylinder pressure decreases to zero (see image above). The top curve shows how the moisture concentration in a standard cylinder starts at about 3000 ppb (200 barg) at high pressure, drops to almost 30 ppm by about 300-400 psig (21-28 barg), and continues sharply upward as the cylinder is vented to atmospheric pressure.

In contrast, the lower line in the graph shows that the concentration of water in nitrogen from a BIP® cylinder did not vary as the cylinder pressure dropped. Of course, the BIP® cylinder and the feed gas are controlled at very low levels of atmospheric and organic contamination from the beginning. Then the purifier guarantees that the product gas will not exceed the specifications at any point during consumption of the cylinder contents. The result—depending on the pressure at which you typically switch cylinders, you can get up to 20% more usable gas from each cylinder.