Empowering precision cooling solutions across industries

Published:  03 July, 2024

Precision cooling technology serves as a silent yet indispensable backbone across a spectrum of industries, from healthcare and biotechnology to manufacturing and beyond. Its role in preserving materials, optimising processes, and ensuring product quality is fundamental to driving innovation in modern industrial operations. PWE reports.

In semiconductor fabrication, stringent temperature regulation is vital for maintaining the integrity of delicate components and achieving desired performance characteristics. Likewise, in metalworking processes, precise cooling techniques are employed to enhance material properties, reduce defects, and improve overall efficiency.

In healthcare and biotechnology, the preservation of biological materials is paramount for research, development, and medical treatments. Stem cells, tissues, and vaccines, for instance, require precise cryogenic storage conditions to maintain their viability and potency over extended periods.

Within this intricate landscape, the collaboration between Air Products and Anthony Nolan, which is celebrating its 50th year of saving lives through stem cell transplants, serves as a compelling case study, exemplifying the transformative impact of strategic partnerships in advancing life-saving initiatives.

The Anthony Nolan case study

Anthony Nolan is a stem cell charity, with a stem cell register of over 900,000 potential donors for patients in need of a stem cell transplant, helping to save the lives of people with blood cancer and other disorders. It is also a trusted supplier of cellular starting materials and related laboratory services to researchers and the biotech and pharmaceutical industry.

The ability to use liquid nitrogen to cryogenically store stem cells and umbilical cord blood is central to the success of its ground-breaking work.

Leading industrial gas manufacturer, Air Products, which has over 40 years’ experience in the life sciences market, and Anthony Nolan have been working together for the last 15 years to ensure that the charity’s use of cryopreservation continues to evolve and keep up with demand.

Life-saving infrastructure

Having cryogenically frozen cord blood and adult blood for over a decade, Anthony Nolan needed to significantly increase the volume of stem cells frozen for transplant during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, to accommodate the unpredictability of transplant schedules and disruptions to travel. This required logistical expertise in management, maintenance and storage in addition to supply.

Roger Horton, Anthony Nolan’s Cell and Gene Therapy Clinical Delivery Lead explained: “Our partnership with Air Products is about more than them supplying liquid nitrogen - it’s about having reliable experts in cryo-gases at-hand, who provide us with all the equipment and maintenance required to keep us functioning as a provider of lifesaving cellular materials for patients and research.”

Air Products supplies medical device regulation (MDR) certified liquid nitrogen to Anthony Nolan’s Nottingham and London sites. In Nottingham, a main tank holds sufficient liquid nitrogen for a week’s supply. This goes to four liquid nitrogen freezers holding cellular material for quarantine, transplant, and cell and gene therapies as well as being used to fill their CryoCart which is used as a portable cryogenic workbench.

Critical supply

Ensuring a consistent and reliable supply of liquid nitrogen is essential – fluctuations or increases in temperature damages the cells, rendering them useless for transplant and research purposes. Air Products uses a remote telemetry system at Anthony Nolan’s London site to ensure it can track and monitor supply of liquid nitrogen across all centres and avoid disruptions. This level of partnership and trust means the Anthony Nolan team can get on with their work, leaving Air Products to handle the back-end of supply seamlessly.

Air Products’ experience and scale means it has been able to dial up supply as needed to respond to increases in demand. Ben Adams, Business Manager, Speciality Products at Air Products commented: “Ensuring a consistent supply of liquid nitrogen is vital to Anthony Nolan’s work but we also need to be able to move quickly to respond when demand increases as a result of more samples being stored, or a higher requirement for controlled freezing of samples. In these instances, we’ve been able to increase supply to ensure their work can continue uninterrupted.”

Reducing carbon footprint

Second to the need for uninterrupted supply, is a real drive across the charity to reduce carbon emissions. “It’s important that we minimise our carbon footprint as much as possible. The work we do requires a lot of energy to be able to provide safe and effective materials for transplant. Because of this we look to see where we can save energy wherever we can without affecting quality,” explains Chris Leonforte, Head of Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing at Anthony Nolan.

The charity has worked with Air Products and MVE Biological Solutions, the leading global manufacturer of vacuum insulated products and cryogenic systems, to ensure its cryotanks are energy efficient and supporting the organisations’ shared focus on generating a cleaner future.

The HEco 1500 & 1800 Series freezers employed by Anthony Nolan at its Nottingham site are the most efficient vapour freezers available, providing maximum storage density and the longest hold time and highest sample security in the industry’s history.

Chris Leonforte explained: “The cryotanks that were provided by Air Products and MVE are vapour phase liquid nitrogen tanks, which do not require cells to be submerged in liquid nitrogen, thus allowing us to maintain the cells at the required temperature of -190oC while using less liquid nitrogen”

Long-term partnership

The partnership between the two organisations continues to evolve, with Air Products consistently reviewing its supply mode, including tank sizing, freezer capacity, bespoke racking, the location of the cryo room and the filling method. “Industrial gases, including liquid nitrogen, are used in a vast variety of sectors and industries,” says Stephen Robinson, Biomedical Product Manager, Air Products. “It’s quite remarkable however that in the life sciences and medical sector, consistent supply of medical device regulation certified liquid nitrogen and reliable kit and monitoring services can – quite literally – mean the difference between life and death. That’s a responsibility we take extremely seriously, regularly challenging ourselves to review and improve the service we are providing.”

To find out more about Anthony Nolan’s critical work visit 


Or for further information please visit:  www.airproducts.co.uk



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