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Squamish company creates cooling system for COVID-19 vaccines

Quantum Technology leaps into the pandemic vaccine storage business
Calvin Winter and Megan Moffatt at Quantum Technology in Squamish. Photo: COURTESY QUANTUM TECHNOLOGY

When you — eventually — get the COVID-19 vaccine, it just may have been kept cold with the help of a Squamish company.

Like many companies, Quantum Technology, which is located on Queens Way, has pivoted during the pandemic.

The ultra-low temperature system manufacturer, which has been in operation for 39 years, and located in Squamish for seven, has built what its president says is an efficient, cost-effective storage device to store and transport the vaccines.

The recently-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be stored at below -70 °C. 

Before use, it has to be warmed up to room temperature and used within two hours.

The Squamish-built storage device has two variations: liquid nitrogen-based cooling, or standalone equipment using an electrically-powered QuantumCooler refrigerator.

Normally, the company is in the low-temperature business, says the company's president Calvin Winter.

"We build helium liquefiers and hydrogen liquefiers and nitrogen liquefiers — all kinds of super ultra-low [temperature] things," he told The Chief, adding that  helium liquefiers they build for use in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems at -269 °C.

(The liquified helium cools the superconducting magnets in the machine, which generate images of the human body.)

When the impending vaccine started to make headlines, the team at Quantum Technology figured they could easily create the freezers needed.

It took just a few weeks to come up with the device.

Quantum Technology
QuantumCooler - vaccine storage device. - Quantum Technology

"This is something we can easily do. We have all the tools in the workshop — it is like Santa's workshop," he said, with a laugh.

They don't have customers yet, but given the need, they imagine there will be demand from pharmacies, doctors’ clinics, remote clinics, and for transportation.

"It is really critical that [the vaccine] stays cold through the whole cold chain," said Winter.

For more on the company or its devices go to