Extracted MBSC or recirculated?

Extracted MBSC or recirculated?

Does your MBSC really need to be extracted to atmosphere? This may surprise you…

We have recently engaged with a large UK pharmaceutical company currently working on a new containment laboratory featuring 30 class 2 Micro Biological Safety Cabinets (MBSC).

They have many laboratories all over the world and have just let go their specialist consultants due to underperformance – we hear that a lot.

With energy costs rising and C02 levels at all time highs we all need to do our bit and as engineers because many of the decisions we make can have a big effect.

Often, because we operate in the pharmaceutical sector energy efficiency is overlooked, the main focus being product and patient protection.

Having reviewed the design in its current form I questioned my clients team why are all the MBSC’s are extracted? Why was this decision made?

No one could really answer this question, one guy said “we always have extracted MBSC’s” to be on the safe side, but what’s more safe about it I asked for the activities you are undertaking?

No one could answer.

I pointed out that in the old days when formaldehyde gas was used for sterilisation the cabinets had to be vented externally to flush them through, it was the only way to get rid of fumes but with modern VHP sterilisation the VHP machine takes care of this process removing the requirement for external venting.

I pointed out the following facts:-

ONE 1800mm wide MBSC discharging its air to atmosphere creates the following loads on the air handing unit:-

If the air outside is 0oC then the AHU is using 4.63Kw (Electric Heater) to heat the make up air to the room temperature.

With 30 MBSC’s operating that equates to 139 Kw of electrical energy, or think of it like this: 46No. 3Kw electric fan heaters running outside for no reason at all.

If the outside air is 30oC / 50%RH and the laboratory is controlled to 20oC / 50%RH the conditioning of the makeup air uses 7.57Kw of energy to condition this make up air.

With 30 MBSC’s operating that equates to 227Kw of electrical energy, or 75No. 3Kw electric fan heaters running outside for no reason at all.


Risk asses the requirements for extracted verses room recirculating for your MBSC and make a very BIG difference to your laboratories carbon footprint, because in many circumstances when a valid point cannot be given we always suggest we risk assess.

Just think how may extracted cabinets you know of that really don’t need to be.

Our new client now understands this which is why we are now looking at all their laboratories globally to see how we can save not just tens of thousands in running cost but a big reduction in their businesses carbon footprint.

Technickon – not just looking after your interests but also saving the planet one laboratory at a time.

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