Rotary evaporators didn’t change much from their invention in 1957 up until the creation of the Ecochyll. Cooling a condenser meant either using dry ice, and therefore a lot of handling of a very fragile and expensive piece of glassware, or using a recirculating chiller. As just about all users of rotary evaporators know, the chiller is almost always the rate-limiting factor in the startup of the system. What you might not know is that they usually use significantly more electricity than the rest of the system – the rotovap itself and the vacuum pump – combined.
Recirculating chillers are so energy intensive because they are very inefficient. A compressed gas (the refrigerant) is cycled through a compressor used to cool a coolant liquid (the liquid you put in the reservoir of the chiller), and then that liquid is circulated to the condenser of the rotary evaporator. There are two major inefficiencies here:
- The heat exchange between the refrigerant and the coolant is far from perfect, and only gets less efficient as the coolant liquid cools.
- The volume of the coolant liquid is comparatively very large, meaning the chiller has to remove a lot of heat before the liquid is cool enough to start the run.
What Ecodyst has done is created a rotary evaporator where the refrigerant is pumped directly through the rotovap’s condenser. This eliminates both of these inefficiencies, creating a system with a very low energy consumption and extremely fast pull-down time. You can start your run in a handful of minutes, and feel good about conserving electricity in the process.