Cutting-edge tech will reduce emissions

When consultant anaesthetist Matt Jenks calculated Southern DHB’s carbon footprint, medical gases like nitrous oxide were responsible for 12% of emissions.

Nitrous oxide is an anaesthetic, analgesic and sedative – however, it is also a greenhouse gas about 250 times as potent as carbon dioxide.

The New Dunedin Hospital will deliver nitrous oxide more sustainably using a process called ‘scavenging’.

“Scavenging collects exhaled gas through masks or nose pieces so it can be vented,” says Dr Jenks. “New technology separates the gas into oxygen and nitrogen so it can be safely released into the air.”

This technology is already in use in Scandinavia and the UK, and is being trialled in Australia.

“When it becomes available here, the new hospital will be equipped and ready to use it.”


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