Q&A: Ecodyst

by David Dean Menzies

CARY, N.C. -- Ecodyst has been making news lately, having been selected to advance to the semi-finals of the NC IDEA grant application process and receiving the 2016 American Chemical Society Southeastern Regional Industrial Innovation Award. The following is a Q&A with George Adjabeng, who co-founded the company in 2014.

Why was your company founded?
Ecodyst was formed to commercialize its new generation rotary evaporator instruments to replace the 60-year-old outdated system. A rotary evaporator (rotovap) is a device used in chemical laboratories for the efficient and gentle removal of solvents from samples by evaporation. It is one of the most often used instruments in chemical laboratories.


A rotovap system generally consists of a heating bath (heat sample), rotating motor (rotate sample), vacuum pump (system vacuum) and condenser (liquefy vapor). Many labs depend on dry ice or water to cool down the condenser. Other labs use chillers to cool down antifreeze externally and circulate it to the condenser. These coolants are unreliable, inefficient, expensive, extremely time consuming and unsustainable.  Ecodyst’s technology makes obsolete these outdated condensers with an eco-friendly, reliable and sustainable refrigerated cooling one. Ecodyst's flagship EcoChyll is a first-in-class coolant-free instrument that upgrades current rotovaps by replacing the existing condensers. It has no operational cost, continuously available, quiet, easy to use, and more convenient. EcoChyll allows scientists to focus on more complex tasks, saves time and money, which speeds up the path to discovery.

What are your company's core products or services?
Ecodyst makes EcoChyll for labs performing chemistry. EcoChyll upgrades existing rotary evaporators by replacing the condenser. Many chemistry labs depend on dry ice or water to cool down samples and processes. In other cases, labs use refrigerated coolers to cool down antifreeze externally and circulate it to the systems to be cooled. Ecodyst's newly launched EcoChyllTM has no associated operational cost, it is eco-friendly, quiet, continuously available, easy to use, more convenient and sustainable. EcoChyllTM is “tankless” and utilizes our patented refrigerant- filled coil surrounded by a chemically resistant metallic alloy that cools down rapidly. The cooling can reach -20 degrees in less than one minute and can go as low as -35 degrees in a few minutes. EcoChyllTM is revolutionizing how chemistry labs liquefy vapors across academia, government and industry.

Who are some recognizable members of your leadership team?
Advisor: Professor Richmond Sarpong, UC Berkeley Professor
Endorsement: Professor Joe DeSimone, Co-founder and CEO, Carbon3D

What are your differentiators from competitors? 
Competitor products use coolants such as dry ice, water or glycol glass condensers. EcoChyll utilizes Ecodyst’s proprietary coolant-free chemically resistant metal alloy condenser.

Does your company develop new technologies or re-apply existing technologies to solve a problem?
We develop new and disruptive technologies. We want our instruments to become the new standards worldwide. Ecodyst invented and patented a cost effective and eco-friendly refrigerated cooling technology. The technology replaces the outdated condenser cooling products currently on the market.

Who are your customers?
Ecodyst customers are academia, government and industry labs performing chemistry including labs in industries:

1. Chemical
2. Environment
3. Biochemistry and biology
4. Pharmaceutical
5. Food and beverages
6. Quality Control
7. Plastics and metals
8. Forensics
9. Hospital/Medical
10. Cleantech
11. Fragrance and cosmetics
12. Material

What problems does your company solve?
A rotary evaporator (rotovap) is a device used in chemical laboratories for the efficient and gentle removal of solvents from samples by evaporation. The rotovap is one of the most often used instruments in chemical laboratories. A rotovap system generally consists of a heating bath (heat sample), rotating motor (rotate sample), vacuum pump (system vacuum) and condenser (liquefy vapor). Many labs depend on dry ice or water to cool down the condenser. Other labs use chillers to cool down antifreeze externally and circulate it to the condenser. These coolants are unreliable, inefficient, expensive, extremely time consuming and unsustainable.

Ecodyst’s technology makes obsolete these outdated condensers with an eco-friendly, reliable and sustainable refrigerated cooling one. Ecodyst's flagship EcoChyll is a first-in-class coolant-free instrument that upgrades current rotovaps by replacing the existing condensers. It has no operational cost, continuously available, quiet, easy to use, and more convenient.

These are examples of testimonials from researchers:

1. The [EcoChyll] interface was simple and intuitive, and it was very easy to use. I was surprised at how quickly it reached -40 degrees. It's clearly a better alternative to using dry ice!
- Fritz Seidi, Graduate Student, Professor Noah Burns lab. Stanford University.

2. Replacing our dry ice/isopropanol condenser for the EcoChyll has made rotovapping much more convenient -- we can leave the rotovap without having to worry about the condenser warming up.  - Dr. Kevin Kou, Postdoctoral Fellow, Professor Richmond Sarpong lab. UC Berkeley.

3. EcoChyll has been a great addition to our laboratory. We have been beyond satisfied with how much more efficiently and faster we can evaporate solvents using EcoChyll, and the fact that we don’t have to deal with the hassle of having a reliable and continuous source of dry ice, especially during the holidays.  Additionally, we have been more than happy with the level and quality of customer service that we have received from Ecodyst!
- Dr. Yasamin Moazami, Postdoctoral Fellow, Professor Joshua Pierce lab. NC State University.

4. I am still using the EcoChyll and really like it so far. In general, I am happy with it. I am satisfied with the system and I am promoting it within the department. So far, there is a bigger interest in the analytical lab where their re-circulation systems [chillers] in use are very noisy (which is a great advantage [quiet]  of the EcoChyll). - Senior Scientist from a pharma giant.

5. EcoChyll is working great.  I've been very happy with it so far and I love not having to turn on the chiller [antifreeze condenser] every day. Scientist from a pharma company.

6. The EcoChyll is more convenient. Professor Chris Alabi, Cornell University.

What new products or services or services will you be rolling-out?
We are developing the next instrument to be launched in 2017. It is an advanced integrated instrument of EcoChyll targeting our high end users.

What makes your company relevant to the future of your industry?
We have brought innovation to an industry that has not seen breakthrough innovations for over 60 years. Ecodyst invented and patented a cost effective and eco-friendly refrigerated cooling technology. The technology replaces the outdated condenser cooling products currently on the market. Recently, we launched our fast and continuous cooling EcoChyll instrument that’s easy to use, more convenient, and saves time and money. Ecodyst's technology has no operational cost, quiet, fast and continuously cooling. EcoChyll allows scientists to focus on more complex tasks, saves time and money, which speeds up the path to discovery.

Where can people go to find out more information?
www.ecodyst.com
LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook: @ecodyst
YouTube: https://youtu.be/WkjyrsMpsiI

Startup TechWire - Reporting on business, innovation, and education for America's vibrant startup community | David Menzies | 919-274-6862 | Writer and Public Relations Consultant | Editor StartupTechWire.com | startuptechwire@gmail.com | www.daviddeanmenzies.com