How green is your centrifuge?

Thermo Fisher Scientific
Saturday, 01 May, 2021



Thermo Fisher Scientific is committed to designing our products with the environment in mind — it’s part of how we support our mission to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer.

A 2015 study on laboratory energy consumption by the Center for Energy Efficient Laboratories (CEEL)[1] determined that laboratories in the state of California alone use at least 800 GWh of energy each year — equivalent to the yearly greenhouse gas emissions from 122,200 passenger cars[2]. Designing our instruments to consume less energy is one step towards more efficient use of resources.

The Thermo Scientific™ centrifuges listed here offer several key features that contribute to reduced energy use during operation, including the Green Mode, Smart Vacuum, windshielded rotors, Fiberlite™ carbon fiber rotors, efficient cooling system, and Thermo Scientific Auto-Door™ centrifuge opening. The following sections detail the energy efficiency impact of each feature.

Green Mode

To manage energy and environmental impact in high-use environments, the Sorvall™ LYNX 4000 and LYNX 6000 Superspeed Centrifuges have a Green Mode setting, which puts the centrifuge in sleep mode (idle) when not in use for more than two hours. When the centrifuge is idle, this feature reduces energy usage by 64% compared to the previous generation of Thermo Scientific superspeed centrifuges.

Smart Vacuum

The Smart Vacuum feature of the Sorvall LYNX 6000 centrifuge enables additional energy savings. This feature removes up to 80% of the air inside the centrifuge chamber, minimizing air friction on the spinning rotor. As a result, it requires up to 74% less power to spin and cool the rotor compared to identical run conditions on our previous generation of Thermo Scientific superspeed centrifuges. As an added advantage, the Smart Vacuum system is turned on selectively based on the rotor and speed setting, unlike other centrifuge models on the market, which apply the vacuum uniformly.

Choosing the Sorvall LYNX 6000 centrifuge over a prior model of superspeed centrifuge reduces energy use by 74% — saving 2,088 kWh of energy over one year when in use for 4 hours per working day. The savings represent 1.5 metric tons of CO2 equivalents, the greenhouse gas emissions from driving 3,660 miles in an average passenger car[2].

Sorvall LYNX 6000 Superspeed Centrifuge

Efficient cooling system and Auto-Door centrifuge opening

The Sorvall BP 8 and 16, Sorvall BIOS 16, and Cryofuge™ 8 and 16 centrifuge models also include an energy-saving mode that shuts off the automatic cooling function when the instrument is not in use. These models also have the Auto-Door centrifuge opening feature, which shuts off the cooling system when the door opens. This saves energy on refrigeration when the centrifuge is not in use. Compared to a comparable centrifuge on the market, choosing the Sorvall BIOS 16 centrifuge results in a 44% reduction in power consumption.

Sorvall BIOS 16 Bioprocessing Centrifuge

Windshielded rotors

The Sorvall BP 8 and 16, Sorvall BIOS 16, and Cryofuge 8 and 16 centrifuge models also include the Thermo Scientific Eco-Spin™ windshielded rotors, which use up to 64% less energy than non-windshielded designs of the same rotor body.

Choosing Sorvall or Cryofuge centrifuge models with the windshielded rotors reduces energy use by an average of 57%. For the 16 x 500 mL rotor size, this would be equivalent to saving 3,919 kWh of energy over one year when in use for 4 hours per working day. The savings represent 2.8 metric tons of CO2 equivalents, the greenhouse gas emissions from driving 6,876 miles in an average passenger car[2].

Fiberlite carbon fiber rotors

The Fiberlite carbon fiber rotors used in our centrifuge models improve energy efficiency compared to aluminium and other metal rotors. Fiberlite rotors weigh up to 60% less than aluminium rotors. Less weight allows for faster acceleration and deceleration rates for shorter run times. The decrease in time of use can result in less energy used per run.

Less waste

The Fiberlite rotors also offer additional benefits that extend their useful lifespan beyond that of rotors made from aluminium and other metals. Carbon fiber composite rotors are corrosion-resistant, unlike metal rotor surfaces that can be damaged by moisture, chemicals, or alkaline solutions. The Fiberlite rotors are also fatigue-resistant, which mitigates the effects of substantial load or stress that — due to high rotational speeds and repeat cycles — can threaten metal rotor structure by causing it to stretch and change in size. Such changes can limit rotor life or lead to failure. Fiberlite rotors, by contrast, can be repaired if damaged. They are backed by a 15-year warranty[3].

Thermo Scientific centrifuges also include sustainable packaging features. They contain at least 75% recycled material, and instead of polystyrene foam, they use biodegradable foam pellets and foam-in-place methods for product protection. In addition, the glue used for the cardboard box is produced from natural raw materials.

Thermo Scientific centrifuges and rotors offer many options to complement a broad range of research needs and were designed with the environment in mind. The advantages they provide through innovative features and advanced materials are a win for our company, our customers, and the planet.

For more details about our centrifuge range, visit thermofisher.com/centrifuges.

References

1. Allison Paradise (2015) Market Assessment of Energy Efficiency Opportunities in Laboratories.
2. US EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html. Accessed 03 December 2020.
3. Subject to standard limited warranty by Thermo Fisher Scientific. See thermofisher.com or contact your sales representative for details.

Top image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/WavebreakMediaMicro

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