Testing shows technology can separate 98% of hydrocarbons from a sample of oil well flowback water
OriginOil, Inc., developer of a technology to convert algae into renewable crude oil, announced today it has filed two patents with the United States Patent & Trademark Office describing its unique technology for processing solids in solution. The technology is expected to find immediate application in oil and gas field wastewater cleanup and going forward, markets in industrial wastewater and remediation of toxic chemicals.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, as many as 50 barrels of water are contaminated for each barrel of oil extracted domestically. OriginOil’s patent-pending process could offer clear and immediate benefits to oil producers, including more cost-efficient environmental compliance and increased oil production yields.
Recent third-party testing has shown that the company’s patent-pending process, originally developed for algae harvesting, can separate 98% of hydrocarbons from a sample of oil well ‘frac flowback’ water. The process is designed to be the first stage in multi-step processes for cleaning and treating contaminated water from oil and gas wells.
The filed patent applications protect two of the company’s new inventions related to this process. The first is “Solute Extraction from an Aqueous Medium Using a Modular Device.” The second is “Modular Systems and Methods for Extracting a Contaminant from a Solution.” The inventor on both applications is OriginOil’s co-founder and chief inventor, Nicholas Eckelberry.
“We believe our proprietary process may be the most efficient method available today for initially separating oil from produced water,” said Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil’s CEO. “With these new patent filings, we not only protect our intellectual property rights, but we also extend them into conventional energy and industrial waste cleanup markets, which could be quite lucrative for the company. We intend to compete in these immediate markets while we continue to build on our early lead in the promising algae industry.”
The company recently announced that it signed a memorandum of understanding with California-based engineering firm PACE to collaborate with oil field operators in Texas and elsewhere to improve petroleum recovery and water cleaning for reuse at well sites. PACE plans to replace the early stages of chemical flocculation and dissolved air flotation with OriginOil’s process, potentially improving the performance and scalability of onsite water recycling and reducing both capital and operating expenses.