Croc Tank Highlights Innovations Coming to Water Sector

In a Shark Tank-style presentation, manufacturers at WEFTEC unveiled new technology.

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Hydropower for gravity-flow waterlines. A new rapid-settling wastewater treatment process. A low-cost treatment for oil production wastewater. These are just three of the innovations presented during a Croc Tank session Wednesday, Sept. 30, at WEFTEC 2015 in Chicago.

The session, sponsored by the Water Council and named for WEF mascot Niles Crocodile, was a takeoff on the popular Shark Tank reality TV show. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas to a panel of investors, advisors and customers. Here’s a look at some of the innovations described in five-minute pitches.

  • Produced water cleanup. IX Power’s John Grizz Deal described the OrganicClear system for treating produced water from oil and gas wells for a cost as low as 26 to 48 cents per barrel. The modular system, adaptable to specific water characteristics, can treat up to 50,000 barrels per day. It is now being tested in the field.
  • Organics destruction. Richard DeLyle of Innoveox presented a supercritical water oxidation process for destroying organic compounds in wastewater from oil and gas and pharmaceutical production. It uses water in a phase between liquid and steam to make all organics soluble, so that all the carbon bounds can be broken. The system yields only clean water, carbon dioxide and energy and can reduce total organics in the wastewater stream from 180,000 ppm to 50 ppm.
  • In-pipe hydropower. Susan Priddy of Lucid Pipe Technology pitched a hydroturbine technology for use in gravity-flow water pipes. The company’s 24- to 110-inch turbines can produce base load electricity at 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour. They can be installed while water flows in the pipe and so without service interruption. A system operating in Riverside, California, has produced 71 MWh in three years. Another system is to be completed this year for the Portland (Oregon) Water Bureau.
  • Pipe liner. A 3M representative described the Scotchkote lining system for aging water pipes. Lines can be cleaned and then lined with a polymer product in a thickness to suit the application. Lighter applications can help prevent leakage; heavier amounts can restore some measure of structural integrity.
  • Simpler inspection. A spokesperson for Iconac highlighted a new noninvasive method for determining the condition of buried pipe, using sonic sensing technology. The method can be used to inspect about 10,000 feet of pipe per day in increments of about 35 feet. The sensing devices are placed on valves or hydrants.
  • Low-head hydropower. Gia Schneider, representing Natel Energy, told how EcoSmart Hydro, a form of distributed hydroelectric power, can produce electricity for 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. The devices are compact, operate at low pressure, and are fish-friendly. A watershed software package helps users determine the best locations for the hydroturbines.
  • Compact treatment. A Nereda representative described aerobic granular biomass technology, an innovative wastewater treatment process that features very fast settling and can treat more biomass per unit volume than conventional secondary treatment. The process is simple to operate, has a small footprint, is energy-efficient, and can remove nitrogen and phosphorus more effectively than conventional methods. The company has 27 projects built, designed or under construction, mostly in Europe, in capacities up to 150. 


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