Algae harvesting company OriginOil’s second CLEAN-FRAC licensing agreement targets Canadian oil sands market; urban algae demo project in Paris
28 November 2012
OriginOil, Inc., the developer of a process for harvesting algae and cleaning up oil & gas water, announced that its second original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) agreement will target oil service companies in the Canadian oil sands market.
In October, OriginOil announced its first agreement to license the CLEAN-FRAC process with oil and gas water treatment firm Pearl H2O.
Privately-held investor group LH Opportunity Group plans to work with Calgary-based specialty fabricator Ensteel Industries to design an end-to-end system, featuring OriginOil’s technology, for potential applications in the enhanced oil recovery and tailing pond water treatment markets.
LH was an early private investor in Athabasca Oil Corporation. Over its 40-year history, Ensteel has completed projects for companies such as Propak Systems and Plains Fabrication that supply leaders in the Canadian oil and gas sector.
Under the terms of the OEM agreement, OriginOil has granted a non-exclusive license to LH Opportunity Group to bundle OriginOil’s high-speed and chemical-free CLEAN-FRAC technology with systems that LH and Ensteel plan to develop. OriginOil will receive royalty payments based on a percentage of system sales revenue.
OriginOil’s CLEAN-FRAC process is based on the company’s Solids Out of Solution technology that efficiently removes oils, suspended solids, insoluble organics and bacteria from produced or “frac flowback” water, on a continuous flow basis and without the use of chemicals.
According to the US Bureau of Land Management, oil sand deposits are complex mixtures of sand, clays, water and bitumen, a “heavy” or highly viscous oil. The Alberta Geological Survey states that it takes from 2.5 to 4 barrels of water to produce one barrel of bitumen, and reclamation of mining sites must be done to a standard to at least the equivalent of their previous biological productivity.
A study previously issued by the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta suggested that “the choke point for the province’s oil sands expansion may not be the huge carbon dioxide emissions arising from mining and processing the sticky, bitumen containing tar sands, as is widely assumed, but a lack of water.”
Separately, OriginOil is participating in the ribbon-cutting in Paris on 29 November for a demonstration urban algae project with Ennesys at the La Défense Complex in Paris. Paris-based energy systems company Ennesys, in partnership with OriginOil, developed a solution that converts wastewater from commercial buildings into energy. Ennesys CEO Pierre Tauzinat will present this technology to developers and American architects at this year’s Greenbuild International Conferences and Expo, held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Ennesys is a pioneer in the brand-new “urban algae” sector, which deploys algae on walls and roofs of buildings to help achieve a positive energy balance and purify water in the process.
Grown in photobioreactors made of polycarbonate or glass, and using only light, wastewater and CO2, the algae can be harvested every 24 to 48 hours. At the end of the growth cycle, the algae is harvested using OriginOil’s Algae Appliance and then processed into a bio-feedstock that has nearly the same energy value as coal.
Because the harvesting process uses no chemicals, the water used to grow the algae can be recycled into the growth system. Alternatively, once the algae has absorbed the nitrates, the water can then be used as “grey water” in building plumbing systems.
As a bonus, the bioreactors on outside walls are a heat shield that moderates building temperatures, making for a cost-effective insulation system.
Under optimum conditions, one hectare (about 2.5 acres) of photobioreactors can produce up to 150 tons of algae per year and is thought to reduce water consumption and primary energy needs by up to 80%; savings which can amount to six figures per year for large office towers.
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