Ducted or Ductless? Is this the real Issue?
Most laboratories will need some form of fume cabinet at some point. The type of cabinet is usually the starting point of the process, and the choice of either ductless or ducted cabinet is made.
With the ever increasing need to save money and to be environmentally responsible there are other considerations that need to be explored before a decision can be reached.
Protection of the User
This should be the most important consideration as both ducted (recirculating) and ductless fume cabinets aim to remove pollutants away from the user. Vapors from liquid chemicals and particles from powders should be extracted away, as quickly as possible without re-circulation occurring or any chance of reduced efficiency.The ductless fume cabinets de-activate vapors and particles by activated carbon technology in the filter and remove powder dust by HEPA filtration so that there is no risk of contamination for the user. Chemical vapors and powder particles are not dissipated into the external atmosphere either which means a cleaner environment for all and a lower carbon footprint. The recirculating fume cabinet is the more sustainable solution for the protection of laboratory personnel. Read more about Valiquest and the ESP Program.
No Ductwork Cost
One of the most expensive aspects of fitting a ducted fume hood is the associated costs of designing a building with enough head space to install the ducting required to remove exhaust vapors and particles. This cost has to be borne in mind when designing a new laboratory, and when retro-fitting a cabinet. The laboratory might be on the lower floor and so ducting needs to be configured to exit the roof of the building, which could be problematic in itself if the building is large. Fresh air also has to be bought back into the building so further ducting is required to bring this clean air into the lab. Ductless systems need only to have fresh air circulation and none of the added costs of extraction ducting which can be very expensive to install.
Because ductless hoods use filters to remove pollutants, they can be easily replaced when spent, and easily disposed of. There is no pollution in the atmosphere and no infrastructure costs to remove pollutants, only the cost of the filter. The cost of a filter is 1/100th the cost of running a ducted system.
Erlab activated carbon filters are manufactured from recycled raw materials.The carbon activation is made with no harmful chemicals. There is no release of pollutants into the atmosphere and so improvement of air quality into the laboratory. The production of CO2 generated from filter disposal is utilized by plants.
Mobility/Relocation of Fume Cabinets
It is very costly to move a ducted fume cabinet, and is not always possible.An Erlab ductless cabinet can be easily relocated to anywhere in the laboratory and can be mounted on a Mobicap trolley for ease of transit.
The issue of toxic release into the atmosphere must be one of the most important factors to consider before committing to or planning a ducted fume cabinet system. With the increasing burden of responsibility on the establishment to consider waste disposal and air quality, the Ductless fume hood is greener, cleaner, cheaper and a far more environmentally responsible approach, always ensuring that the safety of the user is paramount.