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Contribute to the blog!

This website is not just for us!

The green laboratory network at Uppsala University is intended as an organic, grass-roots way for seemingly different research units to share ideas and their progress. If you would like to contribute, please send us an email at

Here’s an example

Reducing our lab’s water usage

The Synthetic Molecular Chemistry (SMC) program at Ångström laboratory has implemented various measures to reduce our water usage. See, here’s the problem – chemistry, especially synthetic chemistry – requires a lot of heating and cooling. Traditionally, synthetic chemists use water-cooled glassware which helps condense hot solvent vapors. These look like this:

This is a tremendous amount of water! To make matters worse, this water often needs to be cooled first – an energy (and thus CO2) intensive process.

Now, sometimes, you have to use water cooling. In these cases – such as for SMC’s rotary evaporators – we have purchased recirculating water chillers. This saves both water and energy.

one of SMC’s recirculating water chillers

…but we can also take a page from our ancestor chemists. They did not have the luxury of readily available cold water (or really, lots of things, like Sigma Aldrich, sorry, it’s Merck now I guess?). So what did they do? Well, air-cooling!

Reproduced with permission from Wikimedia Commons (user Jorge Stolfi, CC BY-SA 4.0)

And you know what? Air cooling still works! SMC purchased several condensers especially suitable for air cooling, and have posted signs around lab instructing users on how to use them.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Sergei

    I am surprised we did not have these deflemmators before in Uppsala. They are definitely easier in use than Liebig condensers, if b.p. > 70 C. In the developing countries chemists are still using air-cooled glassware, but with a different motivation. Labs do not have money to pay for water 🙂

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