Cold end in helium liquefiers, where finally the gas is converted to liquid, may have different alternatives in configuration to achieve maximum exergy efficiency. Apart from high exergy efficiency, which also means low specific power consumption, reliability of operation and complexity of equipment design are also some of the concerns for designers. In this work, various cold end configurations are compared at different operating conditions to help arrive at appropriate choices during design and operation. When single Joule–Thomson valve is replaced by more efficient cold ends with expanders, it allows reduction of the number of Brayton stages in precooling section as well as the total heat exchanger size. Cold end with expander and Joule–Thomson valve combination has been found to be a good compromise between reliability, liquid production, specific power consumption, and exergy efficiency. However, for such a configuration, it is important to fix the intermediate pressure at appropriate level so as to avoid liquid formation at the exit of the expander.

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