Environmental impact is becoming a significant factor in the selection of suppliers even in preclinical imaging. The introduction of liquid helium free, high-end MRI systems by MR Solutions substantially reduces the environmental impact when compared to competitor units. The key factor is dispensing with the liquid helium bath which cools the magnet down in traditional systems to minus 269°C when it becomes superconducting and boosts the power of the magnet.
MR Solutions notes helium is becoming increasingly scarce on Earth, despite being the second most common element in the universe, as it leaks away into space. Most helium is created by the natural radioactive decay of heavy radioactive elements such as thorium and uranium, and is often found with natural gas from which it is extracted commercially.
In addition, liquid helium-cooled, high field MRI systems require up to several hundred litres of liquid helium as well as ongoing top ups as it is impossible to stop the gas leaking away.
Another significant benefit is that the company indicates is that liquid helium free MRI systems are a fifth of the size and a fraction of the weight of the conventional high field MRI system which saves a substantial amount of energy and materials in manufacture. This is achieved by a new sophisticated technology which incorporates the cooling of the magnet into the windings of the magnet. This technology also does away with the need for an emergency venting system which has to be installed to avoid asphyxiating the operators should the liquid helium turn to gas.
MR Solutions also reports because of the size of these traditional systems, they often require substantial building modifications and floor strengthening as they weigh several tonnes and require their own room. The installation of the scanner itself requires heavy lifting cranes just to put it in place. The liquid helium free, high field systems can be wheeled through the door.
David Taylor, Executive Chairman of MR Solutions commented: “Clients are now quite rightly demanding environmental impact studies. We have always been very conscious of not only producing the most advanced imaging systems, but in reducing the environmental impact.”
MR Solutions remains the only manufacturer of multi-modality, high field, preclinical systems with an installed base of installations in the world’s leading research laboratories.