Innovative refrigeration technology - use of freezers in laboratories

  • Freezers are standard equipment in laboratories, medical facilities and research institutions. Precise observance of certain temperatures is essential for the shelf life and effectiveness of drugs as well as for the integrity of biological samples. Innovative climate- and refrigeration technology is necessary for controlling the temperature of rooms, for cooling medicines and vaccines or for the long-term storage of research material. The requirements on the cooling systems are high. They should not only be operated in a particularly energy-efficient and cost-saving manner, but also offer sufficient storage space while integrating into the room in a space-saving manner.

    For what purposes are freezers needed in laboratories

    While many drugs can be stored at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius, injection solutions usually require temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. Refrigeration technology for conditioned storage rooms, walk-in climate chambers, stability cabinets and -chambers or medicine freezers are available from Clitec. However, immunotherapeutic agents, certain vaccines and biological sample materials are rarely stable in such temperature ranges. They outlast any long-term storage only at freezing temperatures between -20 and -80 degrees Celsius. Typical materials that are stored frozen are:

    • Pharmaceutical products: Immunotherapeutics or vaccines (e.g. the BioNTech-Pfizer-COVID-19 vaccines)
    • Isolated proteins, DNA or RNA
    • Cell extracts
    • Biological samples (e.g. tissue or body fluids)
    • Many reagents of biomedical research


    Ultra-low freezers used to freeze such samples are also called ULT (ultra-low temperature) freezers. Common refrigerators cool down to 4 degrees Celsius, and common freezers usually down to -20 degrees Celsius. ULT freezers, on the other hand, reach temperatures of -86 or even -150 degrees Celsius. Clitec offers freezing technology from various manufacturers. With some models out of the Stirling Ultracold series, the temperatures can be chosen as needed. This makes their operation adaptable to the needed sample quality. Instead of several devices, the laboratory only needs one freezer, which can mean significant cost savings.

    Maintaining the cold chain for biological sample material and active ingredients that require refrigeration

    Collecting enough biological samples for a meaningful analysis can take time. Once initial samples are available, they must be stored in the correct temperature range to avoid degeneration, for example of protein structures. In the case of medicinal active ingredients, there is a risk of a loss of effectiveness if continuous cooling does not take place. An interruption in the cold chain must not occur during the entire storage period. Reliable devices are therefore necessary that allow precise adjustment and keep the selected temperature constant – without any fluctuations.

    Requirements for freezers in laboratories:

    • Precise temperature setting
    • Temperature must not fluctuate
    • A most energy-efficient operation
    • High volume with optimal use of storage space
    • Space saving
    • Protection mechanisms in the event of power failure or malfunctions
    • Reliable alerting

    ULT freezers for laboratories – product presentation and advantages

    Special freezers are for laboratories, medical facilities and research institutions as well as for the pharmaceutical industry available. In addition to their high volume, these offer the possibility of energy-efficient storage of research materials and therapeutics at low temperatures (-20 to -86 degrees Celsius). The manufacturer Stirling Ultracold has, among others, the following products in its range:

    • Upright SU780XLE: tall ULT freezer, with maximum volume per floor area.
    • Compact SU105UE: ULT freezer for workbenches with under-counter storage space
    • Portable ULT25NEU: ideal for transporting products and samples that require refrigeration, only 21 kg net weight


    Innovative technology ensures cost-saving operation. The ULT laboratory freezers use natural refrigerants and are Energy Star® certified. Only a small amount of heat is released into the environment during cooling. And even with changing as well as high ambient temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius, the technology convinces with energy-saving operation. The devices can be used for voltage ranges between 110 and 240 volts. A short circuit protection ensures the safety of the frozen materials.

    However, energy efficiency is also achieved through high capacity and optimized storage organization. There is space for up to 700 boxes in the upright built ULT cooling units. The elaborate interior design ensures that the desired samples can be found quickly. The number of door openings and the opening time of the door can be reduced in this way. Stirling Ultracold ULT freezers are built rather upright than wide. In the lab they let themselves integrate to save space .

    Reduce energy consumption of ULT freezers in laboratories

    For adequate accommodation and storage of sample material and therapeutics, storage at extremely low temperatures is often required. However, ULT freezers can have an energy cost comparable to that of a household. Especially when the devices are getting older, they often no longer work cost-effectively. Many labs also use multiple devices that are set to different temperatures.

    In order to reduce energy costs in laboratories and research institutions, modern ULT devices can help to switch. They are optimized in terms of power consumption and allow temperatures between -20 and -80 degrees Celsius. If the sample quality allows, the device should be operated at a higher temperature to save energy.

    Vaccines in a freezer

    Another measure to keep energy consumption low when using freezers, is regular stocktaking. Removing samples that are no longer needed frees up space and saves costs. Well managed inventory lists ensure quick and targeted access to the stored materials. If the number of samples is small, it makes sense to share the freezers with neighboring laboratories.

    High-quality cooling technology for laboratories

    Clitec offers high-quality cooling technology for laboratories and research institutions. Innovative solutions are available for customers from industry and research as well as for medical institutions. Through partnerships with various manufacturers, a wide range of climate- and refrigeration technology is covered. Individual customer care and product-specific technical support are part of the range of services, as well as installation, commissioning and the user training.