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    Freezing in the Antarctic – PHC Case Study

    resourcesPHC Europe BV
    January 11th 2024

    PHC Europe (PHCEU) has published a case study that features the use of its ULT ultra-low temperature freezers by the British Antarctic Survey teams aboard their new Polar survey vessel, the Royal Research Ship RRS Sir David Attenborough.

    While taking ultra-low temperature freezers to one of the coldest places on Earth might seem counter intuitive, the case study demonstrates that in fact PHC MDF-DU Series ULT Freezers are vital to the work of the BAS.

    Long term sample storage

    The Customer Testimonial from BAS Senior Lab Manager Elaine Fitzcharles makes clear why the Survey selected to fit out RRS Sir David Attenborough with five PHCbi ULT freezers; a 360- liter MDF-DU302VX -80 unit for the ship’s laboratory and four 729-liter MDF-DU702VX -80 ULT freezers for her cargo bay.

    To help increase understanding of the Antarctic ecosystem, BAS scientists collect a wide range of samples, including seawater, sediment samples, fish and marine invertebrates, plants and even samples of the ice itself that must be preserved intact for full laboratory analysis back in the UK. The natural low temperatures of Antarctica only increase the need for -80oC storage since organisms are adapted to living in extreme cold and will start to degrade at -20°C.

    Sample security

    ULT freezers are also needed for long term storage, with some of the material in the BAS collection dating back two decades or more.

    Remoteness is also an issue, with back-up systems required to ensure sample security when thousands of miles away from home.  Shipboard mounting and the extreme environmental sensitivity of the Antarctic also increases the premium on low energy consumption.

    In these respects, the PHCbi combination of highly energy efficient design and dual compressor cooling were crucial factors.


    Click on Celebrating Sixty Years of Polar Science to read full BAS Customer Testimonial.


    Innovative Partners for Life Sciences Development


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