COS condenses water consumption in chemistry labs

College of the Sequoias take it upon themselves to reduce their water consumption in the chemistry department by implementing eco-friendly waterless air condensers

VISALIA – As California continues to deal with the drought and water shortages, the College of the Sequoias has taken the initiative to evaluate their water consumption. The chemistry department did their part by investing in 22 Asynt, CondenSyn waterless air condensers to decrease their water consumption. 

“Our area has been in drought-like conditions for quite a few years. Households and businesses are under severe water restrictions, having had to reduce water consumption yearly,” Andrea Smith, a chemistry lab technician at COS said. “While the college wasn’t under the same restrictions, it only made sense that we should also strive to reduce our water usage/waste.”

A press release from Asynt said the college’s investment in 22 condensers has already drastically reduced water usage by the chemistry department. The condensers have also eliminated the risk of lab flooding accidents that are difficult to avoid and can be a potentially costly drawback.  Smith explained that after every overnight reflux run, a lab can save 3,000 liters of water for every one waterless condenser. When multiplied by the amount of condensers they have, that is about 60,000 liters of water each night. 

“Not only are the CondenSyn waterless condensers making the labs eco-friendlier, but they are also saving money as the department’s rate of water consumption has been reduced dramatically,” said Smith.

These condensers are being used to decrease water consumption and benefit the community and they are also being used for teaching labs. The implementation of the eco-friendly CondenSyn air condensers have provided students in the chemistry department outstanding daily performance.

Smith said the CondenSyn waterless condensers are being used for teaching labs that require students to perform reflux reactions in water, methanol or ethanol. A reflux reaction involves heating the chemical reaction using a condenser for a certain amount of time while continually cooling the vapor produced back into liquid form according to the University of Toronto chemistry online

“Our students have found the CondenSyn units to be easy to use as there are no water connections to make, we can use them open to the atmosphere, and the… glass joints are perfect for our commonly used round bottom flasks,” Smith said. 

As California continues to see no relief from the drought, the state has no choice but to impose new rules discouraging wasteful water practices. The college was not affected by the new rules and regulations, but decided they should try to do something about their own water waste. The laboratory supply company, Quark Glass was the group to suggest the Asynt CondenSyn waterless condensers.

According to the Asynt website, the CondenSyn waterless condenser is a unique glass air condenser that does not require cooling water for operation, “by using a unique glass forming technique we have been able to manufacture a high surface area air condenser which is robust and effective.”

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