The 11th IIR International Conference on Cryogenics was held in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, from 26-29th April 2010. Historically, the event has been held at various city locations in the former Chechoslovakia and in recent years, has been anchored in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.

With the 23rd International Congress of Refrigeration set to take place in Prague in 2011 too, the organising comittee decided to relocate this year‘s conference gathering to Bratislava – an interesting change for the participants. And it was a move that appeared justified, as ninety participants arrived despite the economical crisis.

As usual, the conference afforded a good opportunity to be aquainted with the work of colleagues, peers and specialists in the field of cryogenics, not only from Europe but from all over the world.

The first conference day was opened by the head of the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), Dr. Didier Coulomb, together with the Chairman of the International Cryogenics Conference Committee, Professor Ralph Scurlock (UK), and the Chairman of the organisational committee Dr. Václav Chrz and Vice-Chairman Dr. Stanislav Šafrata.

Helium cryogenics
The first session was dedicated to helium cryogenics, with I. Sekachev´s (Canada) presentation impressing the audience with its description of a new cyclotron refrigeration system aided by liquefied helium and liquefied nitrogen.

A short workshop on the shortage of world helium resources was then introduced by Scurlock, who warned of the commercial dissolving and dissapearing of US national strategy reserves. Pointing to the fact that a great part of helium content in dynamically developing natural gas usage ends up in the atmosphere with combustion gases, Scurlock‘s suggestion was to initiate an independent international body, which would organise strategic helium recovery and storage.

Further presentations concerning both helium cryogenics and later, superconductivity and accelerators followed.

A reception was held in conclusion of the conference day, opened by V. Chrz on behalf of the Chart company, host and sponsor of the conference dinner. Didier Coulomb then awarded IIR Certificates of Recognition to three members of the organising comittee and the special IIR award, the Glass Igloo, to conference Chairman Ralph Scurlock.

Industrial gases & LNG
The second day of the conference was dedicated to the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG), industrial gases and medical applications.

Among other presentations, M. Chung (Korea) offered a presentation on the construction and calculation of plate-fin heat exchangers for natural gas liquefaction, Y. Filipov (Russia) reported on research on two-phase LNG flow, V. Chrz (Czech Rep.) introduced LNG On-Board Systems Technology and, together with P. Fauvel (France), introduced LNG and LCNG Vehicle Filling Station Technologies.

Finally, M. Idrissi (France) presented the influence of ultrasound on the heat transfer in liquid nitrogen and G. Spörl (Germany) then gave a presentation on the storage of biological materials in liquid nitrogen.

Technologies & Opportunities
Two meetings of IIR commissions were held at the conference under the presence of IIR Director Coulomb, while an important part of the conference was an exhibition conveniently situated alongside the corridor leading to the conference hall.

The participants were circulating through the area, often stopping at the booths, where exhibitors included Chart Ferox, Cryonorm, Cryostar, Herose, Nexans, RUAG, Schwanner, Stöhr and VRV. This blend of exhibitors reflected well the range of conference topics, demonstrating the technologies which were subject of the conference in actual operation.

The conference was highly appreciated by all participants, as well as by the organising committee, with the next event scheduled for Dresden, Germany in 2012.

Review provided in conjunction with, and courtesy of, Martin Lánsky and Václav Chrz.