Commercial Solvent Recyclers

I’ve been suggesting commercial solvent recyclers, and Lab Society now carries them,

Check out The Sidewinder, and Becca’s units. Becca’s 17.5 & 55 gallon units have controllers with both power and temperature control so you can distill any Bp solvent with finesse.

I’ve been posting about this over at ICMAG Concentrate Forums,


For the blissfully ignorant, it sounds like you would use this instead of a rotovap as suggested in your ICMAG post.

“Alternatively, throw away the rotovap and get an industrial solvent recycling machine.”

How well does it work vs a rotovap? I am under the impression you might use this to get the first 60-80%, but to recover the last 1-2% required a roto just as a matter of efficiency. I have never seen a system like this, but a similar idea executed in a pharma lab. It sounds like you use this system. Can you walk me through what your simple SOP looks like?

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This is really interesting. I spent a day looking into commercial solvent recovery systems a few weeks back, specifically the PRI systems. Wondered why I don’t see anyone else talking about using similar systems for high-throughput ethanol extraction.

Sure it’s not going to get you to 100% recovery right off the bat, and isn’t designed to, but being able to recover say 80% and then transfer the remaining over to your distiller or rotovaps or whatever else system for the next step is quite appealing.


These things will work and beat the rates of some rotovaps, but since they are electric the power consumption is HUGE if you are trying to use them at maximum capacity. You have to consider the energy requirements for your production goals. In most cases, a falling film system designed for ethanol evaporation powered by a propane hot water heater will probably be a better bang for your buck.

I wouldn’t consider an electric system unless you have 460V power supply at your site. Most manufacturers are always at the limit for how much electricity they have on site, so consider how much you will have to sacrifice for your evaporation system.

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Thankfully we have everything from 600V down to 120V available on site as necessary. The power requirement is a good point, natural gas is super cheap where we are - it might be more economical from an op-cost point of view to run a gas-fired FFE, and we are likely to have to be careful to not bump up against the service limit of our electrical.

I’m pretty certain we will end up with FFE units in the end - even the best solvent recycler style units I’ve seen don’t tend meet the label claims of the FFE units, at least on a dollars in to solvent handling capacity basis.

Simple laws of physics, it takes the same amount of energy input no matter what system is employed. Speed, quality, safety, and initial monetary outlay seem to be the valid concerns.

Becca’s 55 gallon unit requires only a single phase 240 volt line that can handle 50 amps. Their 17.5 and 55 gallon units have advanced controllers that control both power and temperature (the 3 and 6 gallon units don’t.) I posted up a copy and paste from the manuals describing the power control feature here,

These solvent recyclers are easy to use and safe, all steel construction with no fragile and expensive glass. Nearly anyone could run one of these, could you say the same for a large rotovap or FFE??

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I am very interested in these devices. It is true that they seem to have lower rates than FF on paper for the same price. However they also seem to have big advantages. No glass whatsoever, so no breakage; C1D1 ratings; Can run to any specified temperature and even decarb in them, which falling films can’t do due to the continuous feed nature; they can be programmed and run without supervision; some can even be run remotely through internet controls. So they seem to have an advantage in robustness and versatility. I haven’t actually used one though; i’d like to hear anyone with first hand experience!

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