A novel system allows exhaled anaesthetic gases to be captured and reused
Spotted: We don’t often think of anaesthetic gases as contributing to global warming, but 2 per cent of the UK NHS’s greenhouse gas emissions come from anaesthetic and analgesic practices. During an operation, only a tiny percentage of anaesthetic agents are absorbed and metabolised by the patient’s body, meaning that the vast majority of this volatile anaesthetic is expelled as waste.
To address this, SageTech Medical has developed a flexible, modular system that allows hospitals to capture exhaled waste anaesthetic gas in reusable canisters in the operating theatre. The canisters are then emptied into bulk storage tanks and collected.
Captured gases are recovered and recycled to yield active pharmaceutical ingredients, which are then bottled for reuse. This process reduces the energy and carbon needed to manufacture the virgin gases, as well as the environmental impact of their release, creating a circular system.
Recent orders made by NHS trusts, including in Manchester and Hull, mean that SageTech’s circular technology will soon be in use in certain NHS hospitals. The next key milestones for the company include achieving significant UK sales and gaining the CE Mark for its SID-Dock capture machine, so that SageTech can then distribute across Europe too.
Waste anaesthetic gases are a substantial and broadly unaddressed cause of air pollution. Other recent innovations spotted by Springwise in the archive that aim to tackle causes of air pollution include concrete that cleans the air in road tunnels and DIY air filters.
Written By: Lisa Magloff