Congratulations to the 2017 Freezer Challenge Winners

Last December, we told you about the North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge, a collaboration of the I2SL and My Green Lab that promotes sample integrity, accessibility, reduced costs, and energy efficiency. As one of the Presenting Sponsors of the Freezer Challenge, we would like to congratulate the winners of this friendly competition that were recently announced.

The Freezer Challenge organizational winners were:

The individual laboratory winners were:

  • The Hoekstra Lab from Harvard University
  • The Baker Lab from Lilly
  • The Jones Lab from the CDC

Even more significant than the winners named above, Freezer Challenge participants collectively saved approximately 2.7-million kWh/year (equivalent to ≈1,900 metric tons of carbon emissions) and discarded over 200,000 samples.

We’re thrilled to have been a part of the Freezer Challenge program because it shares our core values, as exemplified by our 100% sustainable product line and Zero Waste facility. We’re also looking forward to presenting the awards to these winners at the 2017 I2SL Annual Conference on October 16 in Boston, MA.

For more information on the winners, please read the announcement from the Freezer Challenge website.

 

 

 

Stirling Ultracold’s Facility Earns Zero Waste Certification

I am very pleased to announce that Stirling Ultracold has received Zero Waste Certification from Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), an independent certifying body that recognizes excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally. GBCI conducted an on-site assessment of our facility, reviewed our policies and practices, as well as our diversion data for the past year.  By adhering to the US Zero Waste Business Council’s and Zero Waste International Alliance’s rigorous standards for diverting waste from both incineration and landfill, this certification confirms our commitment to fulfilling the shared environmental sustainability goals and initiatives of our customers.

For us, becoming a certified Zero Waste facility is not a mere symbol or marketing pitch. Our success in reducing, reusing, and recycling waste is an extension of our core values, which have driven Stirling Ultracold’s products and approach to the research community since our beginnings. We have always believed that it is possible to align finding cures for diseases with sustainability. That is why every ultra-low freezer we manufacture supports sustainability and climate action goals with 100% natural refrigerants, industry-leading energy efficiency and the smallest possible carbon footprint. As we shared last year in our post, Why We’re Becoming a ‘Zero-Waste’ Manufacturer… Not Just ‘Zero Landfill, our Zero Waste program is part of our larger commitment to help research organizations achieve their corporate sustainability initiatives.

Having recently announced our new ENERGY STAR® partnership and certification of the most energy-efficient ULT freezer in the industry, earning Zero Waste certification is another important sustainability milestone for Stirling Ultracold because it validates our authenticity in supporting the values of our customers.

Our Undercounter ULT Freezer: Convenient, Compliant Personal Storage

When you don’t have enough room for a full-size ULT freezer in your lab or clinical space, Stirling Ultracold offers a smaller version of our upright freezer with the same award-winning Stirling engine technology: our SU105UE (105) undercounter ULT freezer. The 105 is a personal and lockable ULT freezer that is ideal for placing under or near your bench in the lab. This stackable model uses the revolutionary free-piston Stirling engine technology found in our SU780XLE Upright Freezer, offering a highly reliable ULT storage solution with only two moving parts, no oil and no compressors. We’ve packed convenience and reliability into one ULT freezer.

Undercounter Convenience and Space Savings- The light-weight (220 lbs./99 kg) SU105UE model is the right size for positioning under your workbench or nearby, with a surprising amount of storage space. It holds 72 two-inch boxes, making the most of its compact footprint. The quiet Stirling engine puts out much less heat than compressor-based models, providing a mixture of convenience and comfort to your work space. These benefits paired with quick and easy access allow you more time to focus on your research.

Stackable Flexibility- The SU105UE is stackable with full access to samples in an over / under configuration. This is particularly useful for placing ULT storage in labs with limited floor space, and for “staging” sample temperatures. With the widest temperature range in its class, the 105 can store biological materials from -86˚C up to -20˚C. This is ideal for clinical samples and biological drugs that must be warmed to a specific temperature in stages.

 

A “Temperature Stack” Case Study –

One example of the SU105UE’s stackable flexibility can be found at a research lab in Western Pennsylvania, where the team is taking advantage of the 105’s stackability, as well as its uniquely wide temperature range. This lab is working with a biologic drug that must be transitioned from  -80˚C to room temperature in two stages. With the range of -86˚C up to -20˚C, one of the freezers in the stack is used for the intermediate stage of the transition. Placing 105s in a stack offers a unique level of convenience and space-savings in this situation, with the flexibility to use the same freezer model at dissimilar temperatures ranges. This research team has seen improved efficiency and accuracy in the transition of these biologic materials to room temperature, while conserving precious floor space in their lab.

Secure Personalized Storage – The SU105UE model is the perfect size for personalized ULT storage. It gives you the freedom and control to organize your samples in a way that makes the most sense to you and your research. The 105 is also lockable to keep samples secure. Having a smaller lockable chamber is ideal for clinical use, where HIPAA patient privacy and access compliance standards are involved.

All the Advantages of Stirling Engine Technology – Like all of Stirling Ultracold freezers, the SU105UE can plug into any outlet worldwide, including 120V – 240V 50/60 hz. Consuming less than 4 kWh/day at -80°C, it saves energy and is environmentally friendly with 100% natural refrigerants. Because the 105’s advanced Stirling engine cooling system is inherently reliable, it comes with an industry-leading warranty that includes 7 years engine protection, with 2 years and labor cover parts coverage in the U.S. and Canada.

The SU105UE provides the perfect blend of safety, security and flexibility for your lab which will allow you to be more productive than ever.

Stirling Announces First ENERGY STAR® Partnership for ULT Freezers with Industry-Leading SU780XLE Certification

After several years of industry collaboration, ENERGY STAR® certification standards for ultra-low temperature freezers were announced by the EPA in May. Now I’m very proud to announce that Stirling Ultracold is the first ENERGY STAR partner to be certified under the new laboratory grade ULT freezer category. As part of this partnership, our SU780XLE upright freezer has received ENERGY STAR certification, basedSU780XLE ENERGY STAR on test results obtained from a 2016 independent study that used the ENERGY STAR test protocol. Prepared for California utilities by the Center for Energy Efficient Laboratories (CEEL), this report1 validated the SU780XLE’s “weighted average” (-75°C) steady-state energy consumption as .286 kWh/day/ft3. This was nearly 50% below the published Maximum Daily Energy Consumption requirement for ULT certification (.55 kWh/day/ft3), as recently published by the EPA. In addition to steady-state energy-consumption, the ENERGY STAR test protocol includes a door-opening test, which also validated the XLE’s industry-leading energy efficiency by a wide margin in the 2016 report.

The ENERGY STAR Final Test Method allows a true, industry-standard comparison of ULT freezer energy use. Prior to the new testing method, freezer manufacturers had their own testing methods, which made it very difficult to accurately compare energy consumption of ULTs. Out of the 15 freezers that were submitted for ENERGY STAR testing in the 2016 CEEL report, five freezers qualified for certification, two of which were Stirling freezers. The SU780XLE had the lowest energy consumption of any of the competitive freezers that were tested by a margin of over 21%.

ENERGY STAR certification will give researchers finding cures for diseases real confidence in the energy savings and environmental sustainability of certified ULT storage products that preserve critical biological specimens for their work. As strong advocates for the ENERGY STAR program, we couldn’t be more pleased to see it finally being realized in our industry, along with the benefits it will bring to the research community.

1 2016 report published by The Center for Energy Efficient Laboratories (CEEL) for the Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council (ETCC): Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers: Opening the Door to Energy Savings in Laboratories.

Stirling Ultracold Now Exclusive HUBZone-Certified Supplier for Lab Freezers

If your organization is like many today, it has supplier diversity goals which can be challenging to meet. When that effort involves hitting targets for HUBZone contract awards, we have some good news. We are pleased to announce our certification (read our press release) by the SBA as a HUBZone company, which means all purchases of our Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) freezers qualify as HUBZone contract awards and are eligible for federal set-asides.

As the only ULT freezer manufacturer qualified as a business operating and employing people in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone, we are the only diversity supplier that can offer these federal incentives. This certification is a reflection of our dedication to both the Ohio community in which we work, as well as the customers we serve.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who was supportive in this process, made the following comment. . .

“Businesses like Stirling Ultracold are the backbone of Ohio communities. I’m glad that Stirling Ultracold has secured the HUBZone designation, which will help the company secure contracts and federal resources as they continue to create jobs and strengthen the Athens community.”

View our official HUBZone certification under our parent company Global Colling, Inc.

I’m very pleased to share this news and encourage you to pass it on to the supplier diversity program in your organization or institution. When you can see savings in the procurement process while hitting challenging Diversity and HUBZone targets, it’s a win for all.

Stirling Supports ENERGY STAR® and You Should Too

As you may know, Stirling Ultracold manufactures the most energy-efficient Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) freezers in the industry, using 70-75% less energy than standard compressor-based ULT freezers. Therefore, it’s not surprising that we are in full support of the EPA ENERGY STAR® program and their efforts to promote energy efficiency.

Due to the recent changes in Washington, the ENERGY STAR program, which is run by the EPA, is facing possible elimination. The Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) is an organization that advocates energy-efficiency policies to U.S. lawmakers. The ASE recently constructed a letter of which Stirling Ultracold is a signatory. This letter has been delivered to lawmakers to persuade them to strengthen ENERGY STAR instead of eliminating the program. You can learn more about this by reading ASE’s recent blog post, More Than 1,000 Companies Call For Strengthening ENERGY STAR Program.

Energy efficiency and environmental sustainability has always been who we are, so of course we strongly support the ENERGY STAR program, which has established energy-efficiency standards for so many industries and consumers since 1992. In fact, the laboratory/ULT freezer industry is anticipating its own ENERGY STAR program sometime this year, with our SU780XLE upright ULT having earned the top energy efficiency rating in independent test results reported last year.

If you agree that ENERGY STAR is an important program that should be strengthened, I encourage you to reach out to your local federal elected officials and let them know that you want ENERGY STAR to continue.

The Shuttle: Bringing ULT Storage to the Patient

For those of you that have been following our blog, you know that we’ve posted a lot about our SU780XLE Upright ultra-low temperature freezer. Perhaps you’re not aware that Stirling Ultracold also manufacturers two smaller ULT freezers. In this post, I’m going to share information about one of those products called the ULT-25NE, or Shuttle™, which offers a portable, reliable, and energy-efficient way to store and deliver samples.

With today’s advancements in pharma and biotech research, we understand the need to keep biological materials at ultra-low temperatures for Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) and delivery of injectable biologic drugs. The Shuttle is the only portable solution available today for bringing ULT storage to the patient, making it ideal for clinical trials and drug delivery. The Shuttle is a small, lightweight, and efficient ULT freezer, maintaining temperatures as low as -86°C and up to -20°C.  Although the ULT freezer is small, it features the superior reliability of our free-piston Stirling engine.

The Shuttle provides a unique solution for any organization that needs to store samples and/or drugs either for collection or delivery. With the importance of your samples and drugs in mind, we designed this small, lightweight, transportable ULT freezer. The Shuttle is the best ULT technology for making sure that your samples are safe in remote locations.

Clinical Trials & Drug Delivery Problem Solver

Due to its small size and light weight, the Shuttle can be inexpensively transported to anywhere in the world, making it ideal for remote specimen collection and drug delivery. The ability to easily ship the Shuttle anywhere in the world at low costs provides opportunities for many CROs to send ULT freezers to those in the field collecting samples that need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures. The need to store drugs at ultra-low temperatures in clinical trials is another area where Stirling Ultracold’s Shuttle provides unique and desirable features. The compact ULT freezer can even be plugged into a mobile power supply to transport between different site locations.

The Shuttle’s Unique Features Include:

  • It weighs only 46 lbs. (empty), making it easy to carry and ship at the lowest cost.
  • The freezer chamber is protected by two lids and a lid latch, which ensures that your samples will remain at the desired temperature set point.
  • An LED control panel monitors and sets internal temperatures, as well as other operating and diagnostic controls features.
  • The AC and DC power connections plug into any outlet, worldwide (110V to 240V), or a 12V DC mobile power supply.
  • It safely stores up to 18 standard 2” boxes.
  • Like other Stirling Ultracold ULT freezers, The Shuttle uses 100% natural refrigerants, with the industry’s lowest energy consumption of less than 2.8 kWh/day (-80°C).

The Shuttle is the ideal solution for bringing ULT storage to the patient, whether gathering and storing specimens for clinical trials in remote locations or delivering biologic drugs to patients anywhere in the world.

Although it may be small in size, the Shuttle portable ULT freezer can have a large impact on your research program. If there are people in your organization involved in clinical trials or drug delivery, they may appreciate it if you pass this post onto them.

ULT Technology That Advances Both Energy-Efficiency and System Reliability

Perhaps you’re aware of the free-piston Stirling engine that allows Stirling Ultracold ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers to use less than a third the energy of legacy, compressor-based models. You may also know that this enabling technology, not only saves energy and associated operating costs, but uses 100% natural refrigerants that substantially reduce ozone-depleting and greenhouse gas emissions. However, you may not realize that the Stirling engine also advances the safety of biological samples with its inherent reliability advantages.

From the outset, Stirling Ultracold has believed that sustainable, energy-efficient ULT technology would present a very compelling choice for the research community, and we are pleased to see the recent efforts of some compressor-based ULT manufacturers to improve the efficiency of their cascade technologies.

However, it should be noted that energy efficiency was never our sole reason for bringing Stirling engine technology to laboratory cold storage. Improvements in ULT efficiency and sustainability, while important on their own merits, should always support or enhance the reliability of cooling systems that preserve valuable samples for research. The inherent reliability of the Stirling engine, while less understood, is vitally needed in our industry to further the safe preservation of biological specimens.

This innovation delivers several reliability advantages that address well-known failures associated with aging technologies used in most ULT freezers. To understand this, let’s first look at the basic differences between cascade-compressor and Stirling engine systems . . .

Unlike “cascade systems” with two compressors and cooling loops in a cascading arrangement, the Stirling engine uses a single reciprocating piston and a continuous, gravity driven thermosiphon to cool the cabinet interior. In contrast to standard cascade systems that regulate temperatures by switching compressors on and off, the Stirling engine’s linear motor system continuously modulates and adapts by controlling the motion of the free piston.

How Does the Stirling Engine Improve ULT System Reliability?
Below are several key design attributes and innovations that extend the operating life of the Stirling engine and address the common reasons why conventional ULT systems fail . . .

  • The advanced integral linear motor system has only two moving parts.
  • The moving parts never wear because gas bearings eliminate physical contact (friction) during motion
  • There is no oil to clog up the system or lubrication levels to maintain.
  • There are no valves to fail or maintain
  • 100% adaptive, continuous modulation regulates temperatures without stop-start cycles.
  • Electromechanical stress and amperage peaks from on-off surge currents have been eliminated.
  • Minimal preventive maintenance is required for reliable cooling operation.

If you would like a more in-depth understanding of how advanced ULT technology can reduce your energy consumption, while also improving reliability and sample safety, please sign up to attend our Freezer Challenge Webinar, presented by Stirling Ultracold’s Director of Quality, Chuck Stout on Thursday, April 6th at 1 pm.

Time to Take the North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge

North American Freezer ChallengeAt Stirling Ultracold, our mission is to provide best-in-class ultra-low storage solutions in the most sustainable way possible; whether it’s our Zero Waste manufacturing initiatives, or the energy efficiency of our products.  That’s why we are proud to be a Presenting Sponsor of the North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge – so we may encourage research organizations in achieving their lab sustainability and cost goals.

My Green Lab, the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and others have joined forces to create the North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge (FreezerChallenge.org) for purposes that are close to our heart, including reducing the environmental impacts of sample storage.  Over a five-month period, starting January 15, participating labs will implement practices to optimize research sample storage, including:

  • Cleaning out freezers to remove frost, dust and debris
  • Consolidating partially filled units
  • Ensuring samples are stored at the most appropriate temperatures
  • Upgrading to more efficient freezers

This friendly competition will be a fun and collaborative way for labs across North America to make strides toward improving their sustainability and sample management practices. Participants will also gain points for following any of the actions listed above, which will be used to win awards.

As a Presenting Sponsor, Stirling Ultracold will be honored to present awards to institutional winners of the Freezer Challenge at the 2017 I2SL Annual Conference next October. This will include the Everest Award, based on the total number of points, and the Denali Award for total number of points per number of refrigeration units. Individual labs who have made the greatest effort to improve sample management and sustainability practices will also be recognized. The winning lab teams will not only be pictured in Nature magazine, but will also receive a coffee machine with Freezer Challenge mugs.

“This is the first partnership between My Green Lab and I2SL, which is very exciting,” said Allison Paradise, Executive Director of My Green Lab. “It’s a great way to outreach, and it’s a great way to get labs involved in the green lab community in a way that’s easily accessible.”

If you haven’t already, I encourage your lab to participate by signing up on the Freezer Challenge website. You’ll earn an award you can display to prove you’re greening your lab!

SU780XLE Earns Top Energy-Efficiency Rating in Ultra-Low Freezer Industry Report

xleWe are proud to announce the release of test results validating the industry leading energy efficiency of our next generation SU780XLE Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) Freezer. In an independently-verified industry report testing 15 ULT Freezer models, we recently received the industry’s highest energy-efficiency rating. Using the ENERGY STAR® Final Test Method, the SU780XLE’s “weighted average” energy consumption (@ -75°C) was 6.86 kWh/day (steady-state) and 7.86 kWh/day with 6 door openings over a 24-hour test period…

Read the Full Press Release