Emerging domestic natural gas and helium producer Renergen has developed a ground-breaking device, named Renergen Cryo-Vacc, which will simplify logistics of moving vaccines at temperatures of between -70 and -150 Celsius for periods of up to 30 days, without the need for any power supply. The company has filed for the patent rights to its design (patent application number 2020/07629) and is calling on collaborators to use the design in the large-scale manufacture of these devices, to assist in the deployment of ultra-low temperature vaccines, such as the recently announced Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The Renergen Cryo-Vacc has been initially designed to transport a minimum of 100 doses, whilst keeping the vaccine at the required cooling rate of -70 degrees Celsius. Importantly, by utilizing the Renergen Cryo-Vacc, vaccines and biologics can be transported for up to 30 days, regardless of ambient conditions. This simplifies the logistics significantly and means the vaccines are able to be transported using traditional logistics chains.
The Renergen Cryo-Vacc device will be constructed of aluminum, providing durability and a long lifespan for end users. A reservoir has been built into the device, which is filled with liquid helium, the coldest liquid available globally. This is then boiled and released over a 30-day period to maintain the temperature at a constant level. Liquid helium is also 20% of the density of liquid nitrogen, making the device light enough to carry, with an overall weight of less than 20kg.
Commenting on the development of the Renergen Cryo-Vacc, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Stefano Marani said “At first, we attempted to find a solution using liquid nitrogen given it is significantly cheaper, but you only had four days to get the payload to its destination for the same weight. It became very clear that for delivery into remote areas and developing economies, helium was the only solution for the Renergen Cryo-Vacc. Fortunately, given helium’s specific heat characteristics, it simplified the design substantially and will make the manufacture of the devices not only quicker but more cost-effective.
“As an emerging helium producer, we are proud to have developed this innovative concept, at a time when the world is seeking solutions on how to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Defeating it will take collaboration. For that reason, we are inviting partners with the resources to roll-out large-scale manufacture of the Renergen Cryo-Vacc and global logistics companies that are able to transport medical supplies. Importantly, with the devices in circulation, transportation can be completed in a cost-effective manner, given the relatively small size and weight of the devices. Depending on where the helium is sourced, the operating cost of the device should be under US$0.07 per dose per day for the smallest device.”
The device works to transport vaccines with liquid nitrogen too, but the vaccines must reach their intended destination within four days unless the user is willing to increase the weight by an additional 15kg, which could stretch the timeline to around 20 days, but at significantly higher air- freight costs.
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10 December 2020
Authorized by: Stefano Marani
Chief Executive Officer