Monday, January 31st, 2011
Energy Recovery Inc. (ERI), a company based in San Leandro, California, has developed technology that reduces the amount of energy required for desalination.
The technology does not directly relate to filtering water, but instead harnesses the pressure in the wastewater stream of reverse osmosis systems and transfers that pressure to the incoming feed stream to reduce the (more…)
Thursday, March 11th, 2010
“Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” Often attributed to Mark Twain, whoever said that seemed to have quite a bit of foresight, something the mainstream cleantech community is only recently warming up to.
The fights over water use facing utility scale solar thermal projects in the desert Southwest may have a lot to do with opening the eyes of the clean-tech community, but the sector’s challenges and opportunities are much broader than that, as scores of Californians, Middle Easterners, and Australians will attest. So why, with the problems so immediate and demand remaining strong in the $58 billion annual market for water technologies, has water investment as a percentage of venture investment declined since 2005?
Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
As environmental concerns threaten to derail natural gas drilling projects across the country, the energy industry has developed innovative ways to make it easier to exploit the nation’s reserves without polluting air and drinking water.
Energy companies have figured out how to drill wells with fewer toxic chemicals, enclose wastewater so it can’t contaminate streams and groundwater, and sharply curb emissions from everything from truck traffic to leaky gas well valves. Some of their techniques also make good business sense because they boost productivity and ultimately save the industry money — $10,000 per well in some cases.
Saturday, November 21st, 2009
Even small amounts of oil leave a fluorescent sheen on polluted water. This oil sheen is difficult to remove—until now. According to a recently published article in the journal Chemosphere, an inexpensive new method has been developed to remove oil sheen by repeatedly pressurizing and depressurizing ozone gas, creating microscopic bubbles that attack the oil so it can be removed by sand filters.
“We are not trying to treat the entire hydrocarbon content in the water — to turn it into carbon dioxide and water — but we are converting it into a form that can be retained by sand filtration, which is a conventional and economical process,” says lead author Andy Hong, University of Utah professor of civil and environmental engineering.
Hong says the technology — for which patents are pending — could be used to clean a variety of pollutants in water and soil, including:
Sunday, September 20th, 2009
Even the CEO was initially skeptical about BioPetroClean’s simple and effective solution for cleaning up industrial wastewater, but it works; and now Dow Chemicals is onboard.
The idea that microscopic bacteria could cheaply and efficiently cleanse oceans of industrial wastewater may seem far-fetched. But it is just this premise that launched BioPetroClean, a Texas-based cleantech company with research-and-development facilities in Tel Aviv.
In fact, the technology is so effective that $57.5 billion industry giant Dow Chemical just announced a global commercial agreement whereby it will market and distribute the Dow-BPC Water Treatment System internationally. The agreement includes exclusivity across significant oil drilling and refining markets.
Friday, June 26th, 2009
Supreme Court watchers are hitting the refresh button often as the term wraps up and decisions are released in bunches.
Monday saw a significant ruling for the clean-tech observer as the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to uphold an Army Corps of Engineers ruling that allowed an Alaskan mining company to dump slurry waste into a nearby lake as a permanent disposal method.
Monday, April 20th, 2009
You’ve probably heard the reports about drugs in our water that aren’t removed by traditional wastewater treatment.
Maybe you’ve heard about the harmful byproducts spawned when chlorine is used in the water treatment process.
Here’s a new one: Super bacteria that are actually being created (and made stronger) in the wastewater treatment process. It goes back, in part, to the common use of antibiotics to treat routine illnesses. Remember the last time you were sick and went to the doctor? Did you leave with a prescription for Z-Pac?
Thursday, April 16th, 2009
This is kind of backward. States have banned phosphorus fertilizers for lawns, because the phosphorus runs off the landscape, into rivers and streams, and breeds algal blooms and muck. Ever visited a beach visited by muck? It’s not a vacation.
But here comes some new warnings: Climate change can cause more phosphorus to leach from the soil. I can see the conflicts now: People who want thicker lawns vs. people who want to relax in the sweet, sweet sugar sand.
The argument for phosphorus bans has been the need to keep beaches free of dead algae, and the fact that soil in places like Michigan already contains enough natural phosphorus to grow a decent lawn.
But climate change predictions include more heavy rainstorms, with soil being rewetted more frequently. Apparently, this rewetting means an increase in phosphorus that leaches from the soil and into our waterways.
And this is about more than the beach.