Helium to Hydrogen GC Carrier Conversion in the Lab


International Flavors and Fragrances


Food and Beverage


United State

The Challenge


Reduce operating costs for gas supply and increasing the efficiency of laboratory analysis.


The Solution


With helium supplies falling and prices rising, International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF), a producer of fragrances and flavorings used in everything from foods to toiletries, decided to switch from delivered helium to on-site generated hydrogen for their GC carrier gas supply. IFF had three small hydrogen generators installed to provide combustion gas, which required a supply of around 2 liters/hour. The lab also had 30 GC systems, using various methods, all of which required around 5 liters/hour of helium to operate. Thus, the lab required the installation of a larger hydrogen generator. IFF chose the Proton OnSite S Series hydrogen generation system.

“For us it wasn’t all about finances,” said Steve Toth, a research investigator at IFF. “The main reason we made the change was because hydrogen allows us to speed up analysis, as is defined by the Van Deemter curve. By replacing our helium carrier gas with hydrogen, we could decrease the analysis time and achieve the same resolution as with helium.”

Toth said IFF’s research lab hasn’t looked back since switching carrier gases. In fact, most of IFF’s other labs at its main R&D location in Union Beach, NJ are also now using hydrogen as a carrier gas for most of their GC systems.

“It’s been a positive experience,” said Toth. “With routine maintenance of our hydrogen generator, we are able to continue to conduct analyses more cheaply and efficiently.”