BeaconMedaes and Medclair partner to reduce anaesthetic gas emissions and help hospitals reach net zero

Published: 10-May-2023

BeaconMedaes and Medclair have announced a new partnership that will totally change the way hospitals manage nitrous oxide (N2O). BeaconMedaes is proud to be the sole UK supplier of Medclair’s unique Central Destruction Unit (CDU). The low-energy unit provides sustainable gas cleaning of exhaled nitrous oxide, eliminating it by more than 99% by causing it to decompose rapidly into nitrogen and oxygen, the main components in air. This means the surrounding environment is made safer for staff and patients without any reduction in the level of pain relief provided.

The CDU offers a wide range of benefits:

  • Facilitates a healthy working environment for the personnel
  • Effective pain treatment using an environmentally-friendly system
  • Eliminates more than 99% of nitrous oxide entering the atmosphere
  • Each unit can accommodate up to 12 rooms
  • Low noise level and no vibrations
  • Low energy consumption
  • Monitoring through the web and/or on site
  • Easy to install

The Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle is leading the way in sustainable and safe management of exhaled nitrous oxide, with BeaconMedaes’ first UK installation of a CDU.  The hospital already has a Mobile Destruction Unit (MDU), used on its labour ward, but the larger CDU means that this technology can now be delivered across the site, with exhaled nitrous oxide from up to 12 rooms being treated and vented safely.

How the CDU works

Exhaled air is passed from the face mask into a climate-smart catalytic purification system, where the environmentally hazardous nitrous oxide gas is decomposed into harmless nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (02) and can be safely vented into the atmosphere.  The operation is continuously monitored.  Data is logged and can be accessed easily via the built-in display or a standardised web interface.  The CDU has very few moving parts, so is extremely reliable as well as being quiet and vibration-free. 



BeaconMedaes engineers can install the CDU easily alongside an existing gas scavenge plant, as found in most hospitals, or as part of a new building.  As a nationwide company with a wide network of skilled engineers the length and breadth of the country, BeaconMedaes can also provide servicing and yearly maintenance plans for a holistic and hassle-free solution.  
N2O – a greenhouse gas

Nitrous oxide is widely used in UK hospitals as a quick and effective method of pain relief, particularly during labour – Entonox® is comprised of nitrous oxide and oxygen mixed 50/50.  It is also used for short-term pain relief and calming of anxiety during a range of other procedures.  But this popular anaesthetic and analgesic agent is also doing immeasurable damage to the environment. 

Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas, about 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide at heating the atmosphere.  It is long-lived, spending an average of 114 years in the sky before disintegrating, and also depletes the ozone layer.  In fact, nitrous oxide is responsible for approximately 6% of greenhouse emissions.

The NHS and Net Zero

Approximately 2% of NHS emissions come from anaesthetic practices.  After being largely ignored since its introduction into hospitals nearly a hundred years ago, the issues around safe disposal of nitrous oxide are now being re-evaluated in light of the NHS’s drive towards meeting net zero targets.

BeaconMedaes has a long history of supporting the NHS and private hospitals through its advanced medical gas and gas scavenging systems and services, and is proud to once again be at the forefront of innovation with its latest collaboration with Medclair.  

Andy Tudor,  BeaconMedaes Marketing and Communications Manager – UK and Ireland, says: “This new and innovative product from Medclair sits perfectly in our portfolio of products and services.  The CDU is installed downstream of our active Anaesthetic Gas Scavenge plant, enabling us to offer a complete system from the Terminal Unit through to the exhausting of the gas.  We can provide the system design (revit 3D), installation and commissioning of the system.  Post installation, we can provide a service contract for the necessary inspection and maintenance of the equipment and system.  We are excited to work with Medclair and offer this solution to the UK healthcare market and help support the NHS drive for net zero emissions.”

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