Water-saving Fume Hood Heat Exchanger for Sustainable Laboratory Design

Track Code: 

A space- and water-efficient fume hood heat exchanger system that utilizes a chilled water supply to cool laboratory equipment, reducing a lab’s operational costs and risk of flooding.

Read our blog on Efficient Heat Exchange Systems for Sustainable Labs.

In carrying out basic synthetic chemistry it is necessary to provide coolant in a fume hood in order to condense volatile components, such as organic solvents, so that they can be boiled but not escape from the containment vessel. Current solutions utilize a once-through continuous flow of water that is wasteful and increases the risk of flooding due to a component failure. A novel heat exchanger was developed at KU during the construction of a new research facility and has been operational for over seven years with no reported failures. This device makes use of a building’s existing chilled water supply to cool laboratory equipment in a closed loop system. This dramatically reduces water waste and practically eliminates the risk of water damage to valuable lab equipment and furnishings. Additionally, the system is designed to be housed between the interior and exterior walls of the fume hood, freeing up workspace within the fume hood itself.

New construction or retrofitting of laboratories containing equipment that requires cooling.

How it works: 

The laboratory fume hood system is composed of a heat exchanger in communication with the laboratory device(s) such that the cooling fluid absorbs heat from the device(s) as it recirculates in a closed loop. As the chilled water traverses the heat exchanger it absorbs heat from the cooling fluid, then exits the system and re-enters the building supply. The efficiency of the system design prevents fluid temperatures from ever reaching their respective boiling points.


This system meets the functional, safety, and security needs of a modern laboratory by providing an efficient means of cooling equipment with a low risk of failure. It also delivers environmental and economic benefits by reducing energy requirements, conserving water resources, and simplifying fume hood plumbing and workspace layout. Employing this system may also help a building meet sustainability standards and ensure compliance with water conservation regulations.

Why it is better: 

The KU innovation presents a novel solution to the above problems at less expense and with less maintenance than current fume hood cooling systems. The system has been designed to be an integral part of any fume hood, new or retrofit, and supports the growing regulatory movement toward sustainable laboratory design.

Other Applications: 

Any application where cooling is required in proximity to a chilled fluid supply.

Licensing Associate: 
Michael Patterson, JD · m.patterson@ku.edu · 785-864-6397
Frank Schoenen
George Wilson
William Jeffress
US 2013/0331018
US 29/473,168