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The chemistry department at Texas A&M in College Station, TX has a helium recovery facility located in the '72 wing of the Chemistry Complex. 8 NMRs, 1 DNP, and 1 EPR are connected to the recovery system. The recovery plant utilizes a high pressure storage system and liquefier from Quantum Design.
Our recovery plant processes at a minimum ~85 liters of liquid per week (4-6 liters of liquid per day from magnet boiloff, 4-6 liters of liquid per day from storage dewar boiloff, and 2-3 gas cylinders (~7.5 liters of liquid each) a week). Additionally, the facility incorporates the recovered helium from the magnet fills, transfers to dewars, and EPR and DNP runs; so, in total, the recovery plant often processes ~150 liters of liquid per week.
The system was principally funded thanks to a supplement for helium recovery on Professor Hilty’s NIH
grant, with additional funding thanks to Texas A&M University.
A Short Disclaimer
We felt that sharing our experiences with designing, creating, and operating our helium recovery system could be valuable to others hoping to conserve this valuable resource. Our goal was always to provide true, accurate, and thorough information. However, each system will, by necessity, require its own considerations. Furthermore, it is possible that some of the elements of our system may not perform adequately on other builds. We are glad to provide ideas and advice, but cannot be held responsible or liable for the use of the information.