SP0242: Helium Recovery Project

Status: Complete April 2020 - May 2021 


We propose to purchase and install a system for recovering and recycling the limited resource
helium, a critical component for the important scientific technique of NMR (nuclear magnetic

Project Number







PDF icon SP0242 Application

Final Report

PDF icon SP0242 Final Report


Full Project Description

We propose to install a helium recovery system which should allow us to reuse about 90% of the helium required to run the two NMR facilities located in the Pulp and Paper and Otto Maass buildings. The system will be comprised of a compressor, to compress the gas to high pressure; a purifier to clean it; and a liquefier to return it to the liquid state which is necessary for NMR instruments. Also, piping and pressure controllers will be necessary to connect the helium from the NMR instruments with the gas collection bag. Finally, a door linking Otto Maass and Pulp and Paper will need to be widened to permit dewars to be brought from the collection area and the magnets.

The idea of helium recovery is not novel in and of itself, and many commercial providers sell systems which can be used with our instrumentation. In fact, such a system exists within the laboratory of Guillaume Gervais in the Physics Department. However, it is too small to accept the amount of helium used by the NMR instruments in the Chemistry Department, and furthermore, transporting the helium to physics would be logistically difficult (it would be necessary to collect and compress the gas before it could be transported, and require special transportation to be moved). So, the technology would be novel within the context of the Chemistry Department, and complementary to the system in the Physics Department.


Workers install a copper pipe that will be used to transport recycled helium

Connect with this project


robin.stein [at] mcgill.ca


Helium Recovery System promotes sustainable research practices at McGill
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