Hands-on activities are critical in helping to prepare chemistry students for their future work.
University of Arizona students are conducting various experiments, including analyzing the composition of common drugstore items, on equipment donated by Tucson Electric Power. It’s just one of the many ways TEP is fostering skills development and supporting the campus.
The donation included an ion chromatography instrument and related supplies that were no longer being used at the Springerville Generating Station. The equipment would cost about $100,000 if purchased new or as much as $60,000 in used condition.
Chemistry seniors and graduate students are using the ion chromatography instrument to conduct experiments and study the properties of substances. The equipment, used for water chemistry analysis, is common in several industries, including mining, medical and environmental fields.
“We’re definitely excited. They will be able to get experience with a technique that most undergraduates do not have,” said Deirdre Belle-Oudry, Associate Department Head of Academic Affairs of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. “This is something that will help them in their future careers.”
Michael Bryan, the former Chemical Services Supervisor and now the Asset Manager at the Oso Grande Wind Project, said the instrument previously was used more regularly at TEP’s Springerville power plant to analyze water and steam purity. Now, it’s more cost effective for the station to send out samples to a lab for monthly analysis.
Bryan and coworker, Senior Plant Chemist Steve Estes, thought of donating it to a university.
“We thought this would be a perfect place for it,” Bryan said. “We are glad it will get more regular use and help enrich the students’ experience.”
TEP has a longstanding partnership with the UA in a variety of ways, including support of students in the engineering department and a project to supply 100 percent clean energy to campus.