Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.06
Liaison Meredith Moore
Submission Date March 17, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
IN-2: Innovation 2

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Stephanie Lage
Assistant Director
Ctr for Sustainable Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Helium Recycling

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

Helium is a rare gas in short supply but one vital to the University of Illinois’ research mission. It is one of the few elements that leaves the planet – making it an extremely finite resource. To better steward its use of this natural resource, the University has invested in improved infrastructure to capture and recycle (via re-liquefication) approximately 95 percent of wasted helium.
Superconducting magnets require liquid helium (at a temperature of 4K) to maintain a uniform electrical current used to study molecule structure. As the helium warms, it boils off and is currently lost. The new improvements will capture helium lost from more than a dozen magnets and recycle it to be used again – rather than continuing to purchase and waste 100 percent of a precious resource.
Increased helium recycling capacity will not only will this reduce demand for raw helium, it will also ensure stability of price and availability of liquid helium for researchers, promoting sustainable research for years to come.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

Raw helium demand at a fraction of previous levels – less fracturing and drilling required to get at resource
Decreased price of helium for end-user: At 95% efficiency price will drop from the current $14 to $8. Further price reduction after full return of investment.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum ---
Research Yes
Campus Engagement ---
Public Engagement ---
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings ---
Dining Services ---
Energy ---
Grounds ---
Purchasing Yes
Transportation ---
Waste Yes
Water ---
Coordination, Planning & Governance ---
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
---

The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

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