A growing number of laboratory analysts are now using ultra-high purity hydrogen when performing gas chromatography (GC), says Air Products.
GC, which traditionally uses helium as the carrier gas of choice, is typically used as a means of testing the purity of a substance or in the separation of various components. And as the carrier gas must be chemically inert - gases such nitrogen, helium, argon and CO2 are commonly used.
However, due to its inert properties and its low level of impurity, hydrogen is increasingly being used as a carrier and fuel gas in GC applications.
Speciality gas consultant for Air Products Gary Yates said: “Even though the world’s known helium reserves are expected to last for another 300 years, industries that rely on fast and efficient gas analysis to deliver reliable measurements are already looking around for alternatives.
“Recent technological advances which have helped to make ultra-high purity hydrogen more reliable, efficient and easier to use are certainly generating interest among volume users including laboratories and pharmaceutical businesses.”
Having recently compared the performance of ultra-high purity hydrogen, with critical impurities 100 x lower than standard grade hydrogen, with helium and nitrogen; Air Products’ tests revealed that the high-grade hydrogen delivered minimal base-line noise and reduced analysis time in comparison to helium and nitrogen.
“Using ultra-high purity BIP hydrogen for certain demanding analytical applications will significantly lower detection levels and provide an assurance of improved accuracy. For some volume users, it may bring efficiency gains too.
“For these reasons, we are expecting to see demand for ultra-high purity hydrogen increase steadily over time, although it is unlikely to supersede demand for helium in the short to medium term,” Yates added.