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Ecosphere’s Ozonix Deployed to Gulf, but not for Oil

July 13, 2010

Ecosphere Technologies’ agreement with Mid-Gulf Recovery Services has developed into a contract announced July 8th.

The contract stipulates two Ozonix mobile water treatment units will be deployed on barges carrying housing quarters, to purify grey and black water generated by the personnel deployed to clean portions of the gulf. One unit has been deployed, and the second is slated to deploy by July 22.

This is unexpected news indeed, and while I’m glad the personnel on the two barges won’t contribute to the environmental disaster via untreated grey or black water, I had hoped advanced technology would be deployed to directly address the oil spill itself.

However, Ecosphere may have just stumbled on a new opportunity: if Ozonix can be used to purify grey and blackwater for reuse, Ozonix could potentially be deployed in other humanitarian and military missions, remote oil and mining camps, and other personnel-heavy, water-starved situations. The UN could deploy Ozonix in Haiti to save money trucking water to IDP camps.

We’ll keep watching Ecosphere to see how the contract with Mid-Gulf progresses.

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MIT Natural Gas Report Glosses Over Environmental Issues

July 9, 2010

Editor’s note: The energy exploration industry is the first to demand advanced water technology for economic reasons: water efficiency during hydraulic fracturing means cost savings. Advances in on-site water treatment for energy exploration will drive down costs for the technology to a point where it can be implemented in break-even or non-profitable situations, like personal housing and small to medium-size businesses, where demand will grow as current water infrastructure decays. Vikram Rao and peers will present on topics surrounding water use in energy exploration at an upcoming Artemis Project webinar.

MIT’s most recent report on energy is on the Future of Natural Gas, following similar reports on coal and nuclear energy.  It is co-edited by Ernest Moniz and Tony Meggs.  The latter recently left BP as CTO.  As reported in Forbes recently, the report emphasizes the role of shale gas in enabling natural gas substitution of coal.  The authors see this as a transitional strategy for a low carbon future.  We agree with that and have expressed similar ideas in the Directors Blog.

However, the report is surprisingly shy about discussing the environmental issues seen as facing shale gas exploitation.  While we believe these are indeed tractable, they merit much more discussion than they were given.  Accordingly we repair some of that omission here.

The most significant issues center on three matters:  fresh water withdrawals, flow back water and collateral issues, and produced water handling and disposal.

Read more…

Webinar: Managing Water Use in Energy Exploration

July 9, 2010

Artemis Webinars

There’s an increasing concensus that natural gas will be America’s half-way house as we kick our fossil fuel habit. The difficulties lie in managing water use while extracting the transitional fuel.

Because of the near surety of a long-term natural gas industry, technologies devoted to treating produced water form one of the few sectors where regulation and commercial interests are combining to create significant and immediate market demand for advanced water technologies, especially on-site water management systems, which will be critical to sustained hydraulic fracturing operations during shale gas extraction.

However, as of yet, there isn’t a comprehensive description of the critical, functional elements of an on-site system capable of reliably, safely treating water produced by shale gas exploration.

We do understand some of the requirements, including rugged design, reliable remote telemetry, and the capability to identify and remove salts and minerals, but we also recognize the necessity of gathering leading minds to further develop specifications that will meet the challenges inherent in shale gas drilling.

For that purpose the Artemis Project is hosting a webinar that will gather an appropriately diverse group of experts to explore the challenges, solutions and investment opportunities surrounding efficient water management in energy exploration.

Register now

The webinar will occur on July 16 from 11:00am EST to 12:30pm. The webinar will be divided into two sessions.

Session 1: Trends and issues surrounding shale gas drilling.

  • Bob Puls, Director of Research for the EPA’s Ground Water and Ecosystems Restoration Division, will brief the audience on current research into the impact of shale gas drilling on drinking water.
  • Dr. Vikram Rao, the Director of the Research Triangle Energy Consortium and the former CTO of Halliburton, will discuss expected trends in shale gas exploration.
  • Kathleen McGinty, Operating Partner at Element Partners and the former head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, will speak on how regulation and commercial forces are driving use of new approaches in shale gas drilling.
  • Kate Sinding, Senior Attorney at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will speak on concerns that have emerged as shale gas drilling has begun in the United States.

Session 2: Relevant advanced water technologies addressing drilling issues.

  • Precision design tools for rugged, reliable on-site water reclaim.
  • Sensors to provide accurate remote oversight in rugged environments.
  • Advanced water treatment approaches — from forward osmosis to electrolysis to remove contaminants from produced water.

Register now

TaKaDu Finds a Partner in Schneider Electric

July 8, 2010

TaKaDu Partners with Schneider

TaKaDu, who we’ve written about previously here and here, recently announced they’ve partnered with Schneider Electric, a global energy management giant.

The partnership exposes TaKaDu to Schneider Electric’s customers in more than 100 countries, where TaKaDu will be deployed to identify inefficiencies in water management in an effort to reduce energy usage.

As Pascal Bonnefoi, water segment director at Schneider Electric, stated in a recent interview, “The Energy Bill represents on average one-third of the operating cost of the water utility. We need to do more with less –  and water is not an exception.”

Read more…

Desalination Spending to Double

July 6, 2010
Azzizia Desalination Plant, Saudi Arabia

Azzizia Desalination Plant in Saudi Arabia / Photo: Waleed Alzuhair on Flickr

Here’s some good news for advanced desalination technology companies.

Worldwide desalting capacity is projected to increase by 50 million cubic meters per day over the next six years, according to a recent study by Pike Research.

Meanwhile, annual spending on desalination will double by 2016, from $8.3b to $16.6 billion. Spending will total $87.8 billion during that time period.

Read more…

Google to Expand PowerMeter to Water

June 30, 2010
Google's PowerMeter on a Smartphone

Google's PowerMeter on a Smartphone. / Photo: Google

Monitoring corporate water use is about to get very simple for Sustainability Managers.

Google announced last Thursday they’re looking to expand the capabilities of their PowerMeter application.

“We’re starting with electricity and we’re interested in moving on to natural gas and other utilities [such as water] in the home,” Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change Initiatives at Google, said.

Google’s PowerMeter application currently allows end-users to track and analyze energy usage from any internet-enabled device, including smart phones.

Coupling PowerMeter with current water analytics data from systems like TaKaDu’s Water Infrastructure Management suite (which works with currently available water data) and AUG Signals’ Intelligent Drinking Water Monitoring System could create a service for businesses seeking to quantify and reduce their water costs and footprint.

Making water metrics available on smart phones, for example, will reduce adoption costs and shorten the learning curve, leading to widespread use.

Imagine corporate Sustainability Managers at conferences, standing in circles with their smart phones out, comparing water efficiency.

via cnet News

BlueTechs Await Permission to Deploy in Gulf, While Rome Burns

June 28, 2010
Controlled Burn of BP's Oil Spill

While the Gulf Burns / Photo: Deepwater Horizon Response on Flickr

Seven weeks after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, oil slicks have inundated the shores of mainland United States. Traditional oil recovery methods have proved inept.

BP has collected only 25 million gallons of oil and water from the surface of the Gulf and burned 238,000 barrels into the atmosphere — leaving plenty of oil to suffocate marshes, turn beaches black and poison marine life. A normally optimistic friend of mine recently joked that BP had discovered an organic, biodegradable material to absorb oil: pelicans.

That cynicism is poisonous, but it is not without justification. With over 100,000 solutions proposed via a highly publicized suggestion line, BP, the US Government and sub-contractors have plenty of available, established technologies to choose from. And yet, from many accounts, the technology sits idle along the gulf, waiting for permission to deploy.

Read more…