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LABORIAL – Greenflow, High Efficiency Fume Hoods

ABSTRACT

Laboratories are major energetic consumption areas, with a great and heavy set of requirements, legislation, standards and good practices to comply with. The company has since early developed solutions to reduce the ecological footprint. The Greenflow fume hood is a high efficiency equipment developed to minimize the potential environmental impacts caused by laboratories activities. Laborial is, since 2015, a formally certified company by the ISO 14001 standard, which has provided practical tools to manage our environmental responsibilities and procedures. We assume the life cycle analyses, as well as other major environmental challenges, such as climate change.

The energy consumption of laboratory equipment and buildings is an increasingly concern in our projects and an important target in the performance of laboratory spaces. In any modern laboratory, fume hoods are fundamental to conduct extremely difficult and risky activities, ensuring the users’ safety required for such spaces. The fume cupboards are a relevant focus to consider when it comes to defining a sustainable consumption strategy for a laboratory environment, due to the high quantity of conditioned air they remove from the rooms. The energy cost per m3/h of air conditioning introduced into the rooms to balance the air extracted through the fume hoods, has a high weight in the energy bill of buildings, justifying efforts to develop reduction solutions.

Laborial developed and patented an innovative technical solution for fume cupboards to reduce their consumption needs – AHMAR GREENFLOW. The solution was developed by a highly specialized engineering and design team that uses an air injection system of air at strategic points inside the fume cupboard, which has a highly positive effect on the extraction flow dynamics and efficiency.

 

SUSTAINABLE TARGET:

To reduce energy consumption through the development of an innovative equipment. This new equipment contributes to the reduction in the exhaust flow rate, with a decrease in air flow extraction of up to 35%, thus reducing the need for air-conditioned inflation into the rooms:

 

PARTNERS

PARTNERS

INEGI – Instituto de Ciência e Inovação em Engenharia Mecânica e Engenharia Industrial

University of Porto

 

COMPANY SUMMARY

Laborial is a 23 years old Portuguese company, specialized in laboratory solutions on 3 main domains: Technical furniture and Fumehoods, Turn-key projects and Technological solutions.

Laborial is headquartered in Maia – in geographic coexistence with some of the largest companies in Portugal – with about eighty employees of different nature, skills and ages. Over the last few years, and as a consequence of its internationalization strategy, Laborial has founded a set of branches worldwide, increasing its influence and visibility on several continents and markets. In this area, it is worth highlighting the existence of Laborial Switzerland, Laborial Angola, Laborial Mozambique, Laborial Cape Green, Laborial Morocco and Laborial Middle East.  At this time, Laborial is a leading brand in Portugal, with a strongly oriented business strategy for international markets, representing, at the moment, almost 80% of the company’s turnover, with a forecast of increasing weight in the next upcoming years.

Laborial is a company with a strong disposition for Innovation, having a young and highly skilled team. Laborial has, at its R&D center in Maia, a highly qualified multidisciplinary team, made up of mechanical, electronic, chemical, IT and biomedical engineers, architects and industrial designers, particularly dedicated to the development of new solutions for laboratory spaces. This team assumes a central role in the company, guided by the new paradigms associated to laboratory buildings: intelligence and interactivity, sustainability and energy efficiency, durability, indoor air quality, comfort and ergonomics, functionality, flexibility and modularity, safety and health of the users. At this level, the innovation products already in the market stand out, such as the interactive glass work surface, proper for cleanroom environments – the Blautouch (an interactive bench, winner of some international awards), and the laboratory control and monitoring system – the Advanlab, through which the user monitors, on-site or remotely, several  laboratory critical parameters. We can also highlight at this level the anchor collaborations with higher education institutions, such as the MIT, the University of Oporto – Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, the National institute of Engineer an Industrial Management (INEGI) or even with the Porto Management School – PBS, unquestionable worldwide references for innovation and knowledge.

Finally, Laborial has an integrated Management System, certified in accordance with:

. ISO EN 9001:2015 for “Management, Design and Construction of Integrated Laboratory Projects. Project, Supply and Assembly of Laboratory Equipment and Furniture”;

. NP ISO EN 14001:2015 for “Management, Design and Construction of Integrated Laboratory Projects. Project, Supply and Assembly of Laboratory Equipment and Furniture”

. NP 4457/2007 for “Research, Development and Innovation: Conception and Construction of Integrated Laboratory Projects. Project, Supply and Assembly of Laboratory Equipment and Furniture”.

REASON WHY/ MOTIVATION

This project has come to light through the opportunity of developing a co-financed project by the European Union, in partnership with a national reference institution (INEGI), concerning the paradigms of sustainability, reduction of energy consumption and carbon foot-print of buildings. The markets were demanding new solutions to develop innovative paths in order to solve this major theme and laboratories were at the center of this discussion, as high energy consumption spaces, 5 times heavier than a standard office building. Environmental building certifications, such as LEED, were currently defined as goals to achieve, by project leaders, and Laborial decided to differentiate themselves from the competitors, enlarging the range of fume hoods, through the development of high efficient equipment – the Greenflow concept.

DESCRIPTION AND STRATEGIES

This is an innovative technological system: a low energy solution based on a fluid mechanics principle of contaminants disposal through the injection of air at strategic points inside the fume cupboard.

This patented air injection system provides three internal lines of injection in the upper part of the chemical fume cupboard with angles and flows meticulously calculated and optimized for control and maximum reduction of the residence time of the central vortex of the fume cupboard.

This technical solution, along with the rear and upper baffles system divides the inner area into two containment and air extraction volumes, with high efficiency of contaminants removal, even at low extraction low rates, making the device highly robust and efficient.

Production methods are designed to optimize material and energy resources, contributing to a more sustainable solution, which converts the product into added value for the user and the environment.

ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR

  • Fully tested and compliant with EN 14175 most demanding safety and robust specifications. It allows a 35% reduction of extracted air flow comparing to conventional fume cupboards available in the market;
  • Energetically efficient solution for laboratory buildings, with direct impact on the cost inside air conditioning and the saving on infrastructure, ensuring its sustainability and the reduction of its carbon footprint;
  • Already available in the market, as a product of Laborial’s Ahmar range of products;
  • Already installed in some relevant laboratories in Europe, as for instance the Microcity in Switzerland, where environmental sustainability and improvement of buildings energetic performance are important values.
  • All Greenflow fumehoods supplied, were tested according to EN ISO 14175 by a third-party accredited entity, with success;

 

LESSONS LEARNED

  1. The Greenflow model installation becomes more significant regarding the cost-benefit criteria, in buildings with several fume hoods – it is clear that the flow-balance in the laboratory and consequently the energy consumption is clearly optimized by the scale factor.
  2. The targets of this equipment are laboratories in evolved markets, with clear concerns on building’s energy efficiency and carbon footprint;
  3. Sustainability inside the laboratories is also complemented by the use of selective collection of liquid waste systems, through the use of specific containers, with sound and visual level monitoring alarm, enabling the enabling subsequent disposal to treatment.
  4. The selection of eco-friendly materials in the construction of the fume hoods (and all laboratory furniture in general), is a major contribute to the sustainable performance of the laboratory building, adding points for LEED certification – a green building design construction, operation and performance. From this point of view we can highlight the criteria for selection of the fume hoods construction: lightness of materials improving logistics and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions; proximity to the production resources, whenever possible; their durability; the possibility of reuse and ease of recycling, avoid the extraction of new raw materials and the generation of waste; non-toxic products, for the safeguard of users.
  5. Our top rated materials for the construction of fumehoods (and of technical furniture in general) are:
    1. Polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer, 100% recyclable, with excellent chemical resistance properties;
    2. Epoxy-polyester powder coating with SMaRT Platinum certification (0% VOCs), excellent fire resistant rate and compliant with RoHS and REACH Directives, as well as excellent antibacterial and chemical resistance properties.
    3. Melamine chipboards with FSC and PEFC certification (wood from sustainable forests).
    4. Phenolic resins with FSC, PEFC and Greengard certification, as well as optimum chemical resistance and disinfection properties.

NEXT STEPS

Laborial aims to maximize the selection of materials and extraction systems on behalf of a greener range of equipment. As a certified, innovative company, Laborial invests, in each new development in the correct choice of materials, in the research of new materials, solutions and improved systems, either to minimize the energetic resources and consumption and to contribute to the buildings environmental performance.

POTENTIAL FOR REPLICATION

The Greenflow fumehood can be adequate for a large number of different laboratories, from pharmaceuticals, to heavy industry, to food/drinks and to wine industry, among other.

The adequate study of each specific use, the design of each specific layout, air flows and HVAC systems, enable an optimized energetic performance of the equipment – Laborial has a wide and multidisciplinary team to study and advice in each case-study.

Member

Laborial

Area

Portugal

Date

26 Janeiro, 2021

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