Chemists in Ukraine revisited: Ilias Shcherbakov | Idea

Chemists in Ukraine revisited: Ilias Shcherbakov |  Idea

Ilias Shcherbakov is the tutorial secretary on the Single Crystals Institute in Kharkiv. Airstrikes in early 2022 broken a number of the Institute’s buildings; Shcherbakov remained at work to keep up costly analysis tools all through the Russian occupation.

The final artillery assaults on our website have been, I believe, on the finish of August. After the Ukrainian counterattack, Kharkiv is now out of vary of Russian artillery, however nonetheless out of vary of missile strikes. I imply, we’ve warnings about missile assaults on Kharkiv at this time, however different cities are being hit, you already know, at this time is only a missile strike day.

No drawback for now. At the very least we even have electrical energy within the workplace. At house, I haven’t got electrical energy for about 4-5 hours a day.

Within the evenings, town seems like one thing out of a horror film, the streets are at all times darkish, and folks use the subway system to hurry from their places of work to their properties. However our commuter prepare system works effectively and retains town alive a bit and folks come again actively. The variety of folks in markets and public transport is rising day-to-day. Virtually two-thirds of our colleagues have returned. There are numerous folks, about 15% of whom are nonetheless outdoors Ukraine and haven’t any place to stay; their homes have been destroyed.

We have been in a position to reactivate our institute at a low-medium degree. Our clients are primarily from pharmaceutical corporations and agriculture, as our heavy business has sadly disappeared. Since we can’t import a lot in the intervening time, our chemical manufacturing unit now focuses on the manufacturing of fundamental chemical substances that pharmaceutical corporations will use to provide crucial medicine. This isn’t a simple process as our fundamental chemical business has been destroyed as it’s positioned in Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts, so it’s troublesome to reconstruct even fundamental manufacturing cycles equivalent to these for alkalis or acids.

We have put loads of effort into buying energy provides to maintain our tools working throughout energy outages and offering a cooldown process so our tools will be safely shut down. We had an influence outage on the primary day and all our crystal rising tools was both broken or electrical components burned out.

I can not think about what we might do if it was -20°C for per week or two

It was troublesome to buy tools and spare components for restore. Right here in Ukraine there have been no spare components. We needed to contact the producers however possibly till October or November nobody even tried to take heed to us: ‘Come on guys, take a look at your scenario. How are you going to do something there?’ However in October we collaborated with an excellent charity. The Peaceful Paradise of Kharkiv in a marketing campaign referred to asHelp the Single Crystals Institute‘. We referred to as on our colleagues outdoors of Ukraine to donate cash for us to buy tools, however in late November-December we realized that it could be higher if we demanded the tools itself as costs are rising day-to-day – yesterday it could have value 1000$ and at this time is already $1100 in February with logistics. Regardless of these associated issues, we have been in a position to ship and set up the uninterruptible energy provides ourselves, as licensed technicians wouldn’t come right here.

Luckily we’re having a really heat winter so it helps us preserve our tools working. For instance, we have to use helium pipelines fabricated from PVC pipes. When the temperature is low, the tubes shrink and all ports are depressurized and helium leaks out. Or with chromatographs we needed to put some heaters in a small room to maintain the water or natural section options inside it from freezing. We hope to have a heat winter by March or April as a result of I can not think about what we might do if we stayed at -20°C for per week or two.

This text is predicated on an interview by Anastasia Klimash.

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