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.