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    Cryogenics Statistics and Facts: 2022-2023

    Cryogenics Statistics and Facts: 2022-2023
    October 15, 2023 Vitality Pro

    Many people think of cryogenics as the freezing of bodies by the super-wealthy in the hope that medical science will come up with a cure in the future for what caused their death. But technically, this practice is called cryopreservation or cryonics. Cryogenics is the science of studying the behaviour of different materials at very low temperatures. The two are viewed very differently by the scientific community.

    Cryogenicists work across the fields of medicine, space science, electronics and materials science, as cryogenics has many applications. As we near the end of 2023, a closer look at how this industry is moving reveals some very clear trends. Just some of the more pertinent 2022 and 2023 cryogenics statistics include:

    • Cern’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest cryogenic system in the world.
    • The LHC’s oval-shaped tunnel is 27 km long.
    • In 2022, the specialised cryogenic tank market was worth $20 billion.
    • A small cryogenic freezer can cost around $50,000 upwards.
    • The market share worth of the cryogenic market was $12,5 billion in 2022.
    • This worth is expected to reach $17.4 billion by 2027.
    • The storage segment of the cryogenic market accounted for 56.4% in 2022.
    • The Asia Pacific region holds  46,3% of global revenue in the cryogenic market.
    • Globally, around 500 people have had themselves cryonically preserved.
    • 4,000 people have placed themselves on waiting lists for cryonic preservation.

    Cryogenic technology has been around ever since we started exploring space. Cryogenic cooling systems were used in spacecraft way back in 1968-1969 on Mariner 6 and 7. However, as technology has evolved, so too has the use of cryogenics, and it’s no longer only used in applications that are out of this world.

    How Cryogenics Is Used In Today’s World

    There are numerous applications of cryogenics, and the most popular ones include:

     

    Cryosurgery

    Cryosurgery is a medical procedure using cryogenics to kill diseased tissue, tumours, and cells. Using an ultra-thin cryo-probe, surgeons can isolate and kill diseased or cancerous cells without destroying the healthy surrounding cells. The cryo-probe dispenses liquid nitrogen or argon into the tumour or diseased cell, which freezes the cell and kills it as ice crystals destroy the cell walls.

    It’s much less invasive than chemotherapy and does not have the negative side effects of other therapies.

    Cryotherapy is also used to freeze human plasma (red blood cells cannot be frozen), eggs, sperm and probiotic cultures.

    “Cryotherapy is also used to freeze

    MRIs

    A Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) uses coils, a magnet, and wires that conduct an electrical current to scan and store images of cross-sections of the body. It is a useful but very expensive diagnostic tool in medicine.

    The scanner needs a coolant that makes the coils superconductive to generate high-intensity magnetic fields. Liquid helium is used in MRI scanners. The liquid is cold enough to provide just the right level of superconductivity required, cooling down the magnets which generate images of the patient’s body. 

    ‍Organ Transplants

    The use of cryopreservation technology in preserving organs which have been donated will revolutionise transplant procedures. Currently, there is a serious shortage of transplant organs such as lungs, hearts, kidneys and livers. Waiting lists are extensive, and the time pressure for getting the organs from the harvesting site to the recipient where it is needed is crucial.

    In the future, cryopreservation may reduce the rate of discarded organs, which at the moment remains very high, thus improving the mortality rate.

    Other Applications

    Other applications for cryogenics include the space industry for fuels and propellants.

    Cryogenic is also used extensively today to freeze, store, and transport large quantities of food such as grains, poultry, seafood, dairy and meat.

    2022 – 2023 Cryogenics Statistics

    The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern is the largest cryogenic system in the world, and it’s also one of the coldest. The particle collider was built in a 27 km (17 mile) tunnel deep underground below the French/Swiss border near Geneva in Europe.

    The large cryogenic system is used to cool the numerous electro-magnets, which produce magnetic fields and cold temperatures resembling deep space. The LHC’s magnets work at temperatures colder than deep space, and there are five cryogenic islands that circulate the cooling fluids over many kilometres.

    On a smaller and less scientific scale, cryogenic freezers that are used to freeze and store human tissue, stem cells and organs at sub-zero temperatures are extremely expensive. A smallish cryogenic freezer can cost around $50,000 and upwards, depending on the size of the system. Then you need valves, pumps, and an assortment of other specialised equipment.

    When looking at the cost of other equipment, such as specialised cryogenic tanks, the global worth of this segment was $20 billion in 2022. Regardless of the size, scope or use, cryogenics is an expensive technology.

    Cryogenic Market Share

    In 2022, the market share worth of the cryogenic market was placed at $12,5 billion. Analysts estimate that this amount will reach $17,4 billion by 2027. As cryogenic technology develops, so will the demand for highly specialised and technical gases.

    If you break the cryogenic market down into its segments, you will notice that the storage segment accounted for 56.4% in 2022. This high percentage results from the increasing use of cryogenics to store bulk foodstuffs for long periods and other goods.

    “In 2022, the market share worth of the cryogenic market was placed at $12,5 billion. Analysts estimate that this amount will reach $17,4 billion by 2027. “

    The medical applications will only increase as medical science advances. Already people can freeze their sperm and eggs and have them thawed and used at a later date.

    Don’t forget that many vaccines and drugs are deep frozen too.

    The Asia Pacific region, with its rapidly developed economies and technological innovation, held a surprising 46,3% of global revenue. One reason is Asia’s extensive—mainly China’s— metallurgy industry.

    The industry uses argon, nitrogen and oxygen to manufacture steel and other metals.

    Nitrogen gas is widely used for annealing, sintering, hardening or tempering, cyanidation, and in blast furnaces.  

    Cryopreservation

    It’s important to point out that cryopreservation is controversial, and many scientists scoff at the idea of freezing a whole body and then thawing it out to become a functioning human again.

    Currently, there are about 500 people who have had themselves cryonically preserved in the world. There are 300 in cryosleep in the US, 50 people in Russia, around 100 in Europe, and more than 30 pets in Arizona.

    However, just over 4,000 people have placed themselves on waiting lists for cryonic preservation in the hope of extending their lives. The majority of those who have signed up tend to be young male tech entrepreneurs. Celebrities and tech giants who want to have themselves frozen include Elon Musk, Paris Hilton, Larry King, Simon Cowell and Peter Thiel.

    But the technology for revival is not currently available. Yet despite this, adherents are passionate believers that technology will advance and revival may be a viable option in the not-too-distant future. Already, one Atlanta-based start-up called SpaceWorks Enterprises is working with NASA on developing cryosleep chambers to enable long space missions to Mars.

    Additionally, there is an expanding cryopreservation firm called Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona in the US. There is also a German-based firm, Tomorrow Biostasis GmbH, based in Berlin. Both these companies are actively seeking advancements in cryogenics technology.

    Alcor has some 1,400 people on its waiting list. It is structured as a non-profit foundation and is mainly funded by wealthy individuals, including CEOs of tech companies, scientists and angel investors. 

    Biostasis has a slightly different business model. Customers pay a €25 ($26.54) monthly fee to bequeath the company a €100,000 life insurance payout in the event of their legal death. These funds are then used for the study of and preservation of their body’s with the hope of them being “brought back to life”.

    How Much Does Cryopreservation Cost?

    The price of having yourself cryopreserved varies depending on whether it’s the whole body, just your head and the type of method you choose.

    Cryopreserving your brain can cost up to $80,000 at US-based Alcor. The price also depends on your location or where you are when you are declared legally dead. Other determinants include where your service provider is, legal fees and ongoing maintenance costs.

    The cost of an all-inclusive cryopreservation plan with Tomorrow Bio in Germany is around € 200.000. Costs can be broken down into having a stand-by team of technicians (€30-100,000), transportation to the cryogenic site (€30-80,000), and long-term storage (€40-120,000).  

    Service providers don’t appear to have set a cost for revival yet.

    “The price of having yourself cryopreserved varies depending on whether it’s the whole body, just your head and the type of method you choose.”

    The Cryopreservation Process

    Cryopreservation at low temperatures reduces the metabolic rate, resulting in virtually no biological activity. As soon as a person is declared legally dead, technicians cool the body with ice packs to lower the temperature to reduce decay. 

    To avoid the formation of ice crystals in the body’s cells, all bodily fluids are removed, and what are called cryoprotectants are infused into the body. These chemicals are a type of medical-grade anti-freeze. Then the body is placed in liquid nitrogen and frozen. At around 130°C, the body becomes vitrified (glass-like) and is in a suspended state. No decay or biological changes take place.

    Future Role For Cryogenics And Cryopreservation

    The future market in cryogenics looks very rosy as developing countries are rapidly industrialising. In order to meet the demand for electricity or energy, larger and more efficient transmission networks need to be constructed.

    With the push towards cleaner and more efficient energy grows, so will the demand for cryogenic equipment.

    In fact, cryogenics will likely be used in just about every industrial sector in the future. In the energy sector, cryogenics will play a significant part in the roll-out of renewable energy from solar, thermal and wind farms.

    The Future Of Cryopreservation

    While some scientists remain sceptical about cryopreservation, others are quite happy to donate, say, their heads to science. One such scientist heads up a prestigious institute at Oxford University.

    If we think about how people used to die from plagues, infections, viruses such as influenza, and ailments like kidney stones and dysentery, to name a few, this is no longer the case. With medical knowledge doubling every three years, perhaps cryopreservation is not science fiction after all.

    As Artificial intelligence (AI), genetic modification, and stem cell engineering advance, who knows what the future will bring?

    Cryogenics FAQs

    Can cryonics be performed on living people?

    Not yet, legally. However, the Cryonics Institute hopes that this will be possible under carefully controlled conditions. 

    Is revival possible in the future?

    Many biological specimens have been cryopreserved and revived. Specimens include insects, human (including brain) tissue, human embryos, some mammalian organs and some eels.

    The repair capabilities of molecular biology and nanotechnology are increasingly leading to future technology to reverse and repair damage due to disease, ageing and cryonic preservation. Current progress in stem cell tissue regeneration, 3D biological printers and other advanced technologies all point to this.

    Have mammals been cryopreserved and successfully revived?

    Dogs and monkeys have been successfully revived after having their blood replaced with cryogenic chemicals and which have been cooled to only 0°C.

    Others include nematode worms and a rabbit’s kidney. But a human mammal has not.

    The Cryonics Institute believes that the future success of cryopreservation does not depend on the status that the technology is at currently.

    They say that cryopreservation is not science fiction or wishful thinking as the engineering and manipulation of molecules and atoms are already quite far advanced. This will allow the repair of biological tissues and even human cells in the future, they argue.

    How is legally dead defined today?

    CPR today restores people to life that were viewed as “dead” in the 1950s. Hospitals perform these procedures daily, and it is considered standard practice today.

    Even people that have been dead for minutes, such as in drownings, can be revived with no visible harm.

    Legally dead is defined as when the brain’s information is destroyed, and the brain is no longer viable.

    But this is all speculation and wishful thinking, according to the detractors of cryopreservation. We’ll just have to see what science and the future proves is true.