Innovative solutions mitigate the environmental impact of nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is 300 times more harmful to the climate than CO2 and is used in many settings in the healthcare system as a treatment for pain, stress, and anxiety. Medclair has together with Regin's partner Ehlin & Larsson developed an innovative, patented solution for collecting nitrous oxide, then decomposing the gas into harmless oxygen and nitrogen.

Two destruction units have been developed. In clinics with a need for larger volumes of nitrous oxide destruction, a Central Destruction Unit (CDU) is often used. If there is a need for a more flexible solution the Mobile Destruction Unit (MDU) can easily be moved between treatment rooms. Both destruction units have a short start-up time, are light, and have a low airflow-, which reduces the noise level and creates a sustainable work environment.

The medical industry is characterized by regulatory challenges and specialized solutions. Nevertheless, with a standardized control system, the costs of product development and manufacturing are reduced. This allows Medclair to offer hospitals a cost-effective solution that ensures measurement, collection, and destruction of the environmentally hazardous gas.

- Regin gives us the tools we need to implement the necessary optimizations of our products. In addition, a close partner in Sweden can ensure efficient support and sustainable deliveries, which creates safety for our customers, says Kjell Hilmgård, Quality Manager and Jerker Sundling, CTO, Medclair.

A treatment with several environmental challenges

An emission of 1 kg nitrous oxide (a normal amount during labour) corresponds to the emission of 300 kg CO2, or 2000 km/1250 miles of driving a car. In the past, nitrous oxide was released into the atmosphere without any action, but now hospitals risks penalties or fines for not purifying their nitrous oxide.When using Medclair's units, 99% of the nitrous oxide is neutralized. In addition to the benefits from an environmental point of view, the products also contribute to a healthier indoor environment for staff and patients.

Solution that meets requirements for follow-up and reporting

Together with Ehlin & Larsson, Medclair has developed a scalable control system that is used in both destruction units. The programming of Regin's Arrigo Building Management System is done by Ehlin & Larsson. Medclair handles operational services and follow-up based on alarms from the system. In addition, some hospitals have chosen to monitor energy- and nitrous oxide use through the Arrigo BMS interface. The values are collected and included in the council's reports to the Environmental and Public Health Committee.

CDU units are always connected to Arrigo BMS, while MDU units are connected when needed. By using follow-up functions and history in Arrigo BMS, it has been possible to further reduce energy usage for both the CDU and MDU units.

Technical solution

Nitrous oxide is collected through an exhalation device connected to a CDU or
MDU unit. The units are based on a patented technology, which means that
low gas flow is used with high efficiency. The gas is heated in an exchanger and then a catalytic process breaks down nitrous oxide into oxygen and nitrogen in a reactor with temperatures above 500 degrees. The process generates heat which is recycled in the heat exchanger. The cooled harmless purified air is then released into the atmosphere.

When the unit is started, the catalyst is heated with an electric battery controlled by Regin's electric heating controller Pulser. An MDU unit consumes < 100 W during normal operations, and a CDU unit 800 W, where the annual requirement for a CDU unit is approximately 9000 kWh.

Each unit has at least one EXOcompact freely programmable controller that
controls flow and temperature. Through Arrigo BMS, the process is monitored, and energy use and alarms are followed up. The programming is performed by Ehlin & Larsson in collaboration with Medclair. The program is structured as a scalable standardized program, that can be used in different sized products. The units are configured in modules, which facilitate the replacement of individual parts during services.

Estimated energy-savings

  • Energy consumption has decreased to about one-fifth of the corresponding consumption with previous types of destruction units. This is a reduction of about 80%.
  • Every year, around 20 tonnes of nitrous oxide are purified using Medclair's units. This corresponds to about 6000 tonnes of CO2

About Medclair

Medclair is a Swedish research and development company that since 2013 manufactures units for collection, purification, measurement, and destruction of nitrous oxide, used in the healthcare industry.

The company manufactures two different types of destruction units, in which Regin's products are included. A CDU, Central Destruction Unit and an MDU, Mobile Destruction Unit. The CDU unit is permanently installed and accommodates multiple treatment room setups, while the MDU unit can be moved easily between treatment rooms. In addition to these devices, Medclair also manufactures collection units, exhalation device and nitrous oxide

About Ehlin & Larsson

Ehlin & Larsson is a contracting company focusing on control systems for property monitoring and air treatment installations. They have been a certified system integrator for Regin's products since 2003 and are based in Västerås, Sweden.