VIU’s Chemistry Department Saves Water And Energy

April 3, 2014 - 5:15am

Vancouver Island University (VIU) will realize substantial savings in water and electricity thanks to innovative thinking by faculty in the Chemistry department.

The department recently faced a dilemma - how to generate purified water to meet the growing demands of teaching and research labs?

“The existing distillation system was running at full capacity and not able to keep up with peak demands,” explains chemistry professor Dr. Erik Krogh. “Because distillation involves boiling water, it’s a very energy intensive process. Furthermore, the condensers use roughly 10 litres of cooling water for every one litre of produced distilled water.”

Faced with the prospect of purchasing a second distillation unit to keep up with demand, the department turned to VIU’s Sustainability Advisory Committee to help support the cost of a more energy and water efficient system based on reverse osmosis and demineralization.

“The new system more than doubles our capacity to produce purified water, saves nearly $2,000 per year in electricity costs and roughly 500,000 litres of water per year,” says Krogh.

The financial payback period on this capital investment is roughly seven years, however the substantial savings in water and electricity also helps VIU achieve important conservation targets.

Furthermore, the open wall mounted installation is accessible for students and can itself be incorporated into the teaching and learning process, adds Krogh.

The modular system can be relocated to a new science facility when it is built in the future.


Tags: Research

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