Elimination of Single-Pass Water Cooling Systems in Support of the UCOP Sustainability Policy

Project Lead: Michael C.Kumpf, Joseph Swabeck, & Lucy Darago

Sponsor: College of Chemistry
TGIF Grant: $34,282
Project Theme: Water Conservation
Project Location: College of Chemistry
Status: In Progress
Project Description: Scientific instruments that go to low temperatures generate large amounts of waste heat along the way. Water-cooling is the primary method used to cool such equipment. Water-cooling is often open loop (also called "single pass"), meaning all the cooling water used runs through the system only once, with a continuous supply and drain of water through the system, leading to enormous water waste. In contrast, recirculating water systems, which consist of a water chiller that uses common refrigerants to cool a recirculating, closed water loop, use the same quantity of water over and over again to continuously cool the system. Implementation of such systems will save tens of thousands of gallons of water per month, per recirculating system installed.

  1. Implement water recirculating systems to cool scientific equipment in place of “single pass” or open loop systems
  2. Utilize TGIF funding to offset the expense of such systems for research groups
  3. Use these example systems to motivate other research groups, departments, and universities worldwide to switch to recirculating water-cooled systems through outreach efforts.

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.