Solvent recycling in labs: beyond acetone

This project is the brainchild of three CERMA students in Jean-François Morin’s group: Félix Gagnon, Anthony Jolly and Simon Plaize.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming three professors to fuel the discussion: Guillaume Bélanger-Chabot (Department of Chemistry), Amine Miled (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering) and Anna Ritcey (Department of Chemistry)

Summary of the presentation

Limiting solvent consumption is a crucial issue for green and sustainable chemistry. In organic chemistry, it is customary to use acetone to wash and rinse glassware. In doing so, acetone is used in significant quantities. This rinsing causes little contamination of the solvent, so the acetone can be recovered to be purified and reused. The use of a distillation system sized for the needs of the chemistry department as well as its pooling make it possible to make substantial savings, both financial and environmental.

In the future, it would be relevant to apply this process of revaluation of lightly contaminated solvents to products with higher added values ​​and/or more pollutants. To facilitate the implementation of this approach, the automation of the distillation assembly as well as its capacity to be able to treat several solvents should be considered.

During this presentation, we will explain to you the problems that we faced for the purification of acetone and then initiate a discussion on the possibility of exploiting this process on mixtures of solvents.

This activity, initially named “Pitch ton iDDée”, took place on Tuesday December 7, 2021 and is now part of our series of seminars entitled Dimension Sustainable Development: research in 3D.

Learn more:

The Sustainable Development Goals

We invite you to read about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Action plan on environmental responsibility in research

On January 26, 2021, the Quebec Research Funds (FRQ) launched the Action Plan on Environmental Responsibility in Research.

Contributing to the protection of the environment is a duty that transcends all sectors of society, including the scientific community. To support members of the scientific community through this responsibility, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) are deploying their Action Plan on Environmental Responsibility in Research.