Helium recovery is coming to McGill Magnetic Resonance Facilities


Published: 12Feb2020

An application to McGill's Sustainability Project Fund to recycle the helium used in eight NMR and one EPR spectrometers in the McGill Magnetic Resonance Facilities has been approved! Helium is a non-renewable natural resource, and by capturing and reliquifying the boiloff from the magnets we will use this precious resource responsibly, keep all our magnets operating, and drastically reduce the amount of liquid we need to purchase during this "Helium Shortage 3.0" which has resulted in world-wide price increases and intermittent supply difficulties.

The high-field NMR facility QANUC and the Chemistry NMR/EPR Facility worked together to bring this application together, and have collaborated on other initiatives in recent months. To highlight the synergy between the facilities, all eight NMR spectrometers, and the EPR, housed in Pulp and Paper and Otto Maass are becoming known as the McGill Magnetic Resonance Facility (MMRF).

Tara Sprules and Robin Stein, the MMRF managers, have expertise covering a broad range of solution and solid-state NMR techniques, and requests for service or assistance with experiment design and implementation are handled by the spectroscopist with the appropriate expertise. Many of the other scientific platforms within McGill's Chemistry department have recently moved into a newly renovated space. Information about NMR and other experimental techniques available can be found on the McGill Chemistry Characterization (MC2) website (Certain aspects of billing and access, resulting from QANUC's mandate as a national user facility, and the MC2 instruments role in supporting departmental research will remain unchanged). Additionally, Dr. Sprules can facilitate access to some equipment housed in the Centre for Structural Biology (CSB) in the Biochemistry Department. Training and full service options are available for most platforms, for both McGill and external users.