EPA compliant sample preparation for environmental analysis

Current regulatory developments in the US market have led to increased use of the BUCHI Syncore in contract labs

Environmental_landscape lr

Industrialization, globalization, economic growth and an expanding green conscience demand a qualitative and quantitative leap in environmental protection and analysis. This development is widely supported, globally accepted, and increasingly impacts local as well as global regulation and law. Numerous countries have implemented strict regulations or have tightened their demand for an environmentally sustainable economy during recent years.

One of the latest and most prominent examples for tightened legislation is the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). The US EPA has not only lowered the threshold values for numerous harmful emissions for both industry and research, but has also started to tightly regulate laboratories responsible for testing such emissions. This has created quite a significant environmental testing industry, mostly consisting of customer contract laboratories specialized in testing various environmental samples in accordance to US EPA regulations. Recent news from several US states indicate that the agency has started to enforce those regulations and closely monitor affected institutions. This has already led to several substantial and publicly released monetary fines in 2014. The main point of interest of the US EPA is the organic solvent balance of affected companies. Solvents purchased and used by companies must be accounted for upon disposal, discrepancies are attributed to loss of solvent to the atmosphere. Among other factors, organic solvent emissions are a critical influence on air pollution and the greenhouse effect. Companies which fail to verify their solvent turnover are subject to further EPA investigations.

This situation becomes important once contract labs have reached a certain size. With dozens or hundreds of mandatory solvent exchanges and evaporations every day, the solvent emission factor becomes a serious aspect for every company in this segment.

For more than 75 years the family owned Swiss company, BÜCHI Labortechnik AG, has been known as a leading provider for solutions in rotary and parallel evaporation. Sustainability is one of BUCHI’s core values, a creed that has resulted in many environmentally friendly innovations and products which aim to conserve energy and water resulting in the smallest possible impact on the environment. One such product is the Syncore® Analyst, a highly productive parallel evaporator combined with the latest SVR (solvent vapor recovery system) technology, which allows simultaneous drying or concentration of up to 12 samples to a pre-defined residual volume at low temperatures while applying gentle vacuum conditions.

The Syncore® is tailored to the demands of modern high-throughput environmental laboratories. High analyte recoveries, even of sensitive compounds such as SVOCs, are obtained by means of a chilled zone at the bottom of each sample vessel. When used in combination with the programmable BUCHI vacuum controller and the individual sample sealing work quality is increased by automating processes to produce reproducible results and eliminate the chance of samples going to dryness or being cross-contaminated. High analyte recoveries are further obtained using a chilled Flushback module. The Flushback module partially condenses the solvent vapor at the top part of the sample vessel generating a continuous rinsing along the glass wall. Thus, adsorption of analytes at the glass wall is avoided.

The solvent vapor is condensed at the primary condenser and collected, a post-pump secondary condenser makes sure no solvent vapors escape the evaporation system. As a result, solvent recoveries greater than 95% are achieved. This not only eliminates harmful solvent emissions inside the laboratory, it is also beneficial to the environment and saves money as the recovered solvent can be reused.

Automated parallel sample concentration with high analyte and solvent recovery is achieved with the Syncore® Analyst. The Syncore® technology reduces manual labor and is fully compliant with the latest amendments to the regulations by the US EPA Solvent Emission Program, yielding solvent recoveries greater than 95%.

Current regulatory developments in the US market have therefore led to increased use of the BUCHI Syncore in these contract labs. This increased popularity of the Syncore not only proves that the combination of fast parallel evaporation, low cost per sample, and high solvent recovery is unrivaled, but also that the instrument is fully compliant with the latest emission regulations.

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Voice of the customer:
“If you’re looking to take your laboratory to a better level of quality, efficiency, and environmental friendliness, the Syncore Analyst is the way to go”
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Lionel Thomas, Laboratory Manager,
Accutest Laboratories, NJ