Ice cold (and colder) in Iringa

Admiring the new liquid nitrogen plant at the HALI office

Field work schedules are heating up, but the temperature at the HALI office is dropping to -196 C with the arrival of our long awaited liquid nitrogen (LN2) generating plant. After tracking its progress from port to port and then overland from Dar es Salaam to Iringa, the HALI team was excited to install Iringa’s first LN2 source this week.

East African exchange: David, a Stirling cryogenics engineer from Kenya, explains the inner workings of the LN2 generator

 

Our team used to travel over 300 km to Mbeya or Dodoma to purchase LN2, but, over the weekend, we produced 200 liters in our office backyard! What does that mean for HALI? It ensures that we can keep our field samples frozen at temperatures that help us to detect pathogens. It also means that we can deliver LN2 to our diagnostic laboratory at Sokoine University of Agriculture for safely storing and transporting samples to our partner lab at Makerere University in Uganda.

The dramatic first drops of LN2

Last Saturday afternoon, our Iringa team gathered to learn how to maintain and operate the mysterious new machine. Our fearless trainer, David, walked us through the maze of gauges and wires that lead to LN2 production. From the water chiller to air compressors and the helium release valve, our biologists and economists are all ready to keep the LN2 flowing. Led by our official LN2 plant operators, Erasto and Muhiddin, the future of HALI sample collection in Tanzania is bright, and happily, very cold.

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