Improving water management through innovative technology

Water is a critical resource that needs to be responsibly managed. Across the energy industry, demand for water treatment options that minimize freshwater use has increased. Currently, produced water is safely disposed in saline aquifers deep underground or trucked offsite for treatment. In collaboration with Swirltex, we are excited to improve our water recycling capabilities through a new technology that is readily scalable. Through a single Swirltex unit, approximately 300,000 m3 of produced water can be treated annually. 

This technology application was made possible in part by the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN). CRIN is a diverse pan-Canadian network of energy producers, innovators, technology vendors, academia, research institutes, financiers and government focused on addressing energy challenges to improve both environmental performance and competitiveness. Through CRIN’s Reducing Environmental Footprint Technology Competition, high-impact technology solutions like this are eligible to receive federal government funding.

Water management at ARC

At ARC, we recognize the importance of protecting water resources and reducing overall freshwater use in our operations. To effectively manage our freshwater use and emissions related to transporting water to site, several water storage reservoirs have been constructed. The freshwater storage at our Sunrise facility stores water pumped from the Kiskatinaw River during high run-off periods, with capacity to support annual development activities.

Additionally, produced water storage at our Parkland facility allows for water recycling to reduce our freshwater use. From 2018 – 2020, $60 million has been invested in water infrastructure and we recycled 89% of produced water in that time. Through Swirltex, we will be able to recycle more produced water with the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 3,800 tCO2e by 2033. 

About the Technology

The Swirltex system uses a proprietary method that enhances conventional membrane treatment through a process called “Buoyancy Enhanced Membrane Filtration”, Swirltex injects micro-bubbles at a high pressure to encapsulate solid contaminants in a gas mixture, thus increasing their buoyancy and allowing the particles to float. Next, produced water passes through a vortex-generating device which induces spinning within each tube. A portion of the produced water passes through the membrane as clean effluent, while the concentrate continues through each tube and can be recycled into a wastewater input stream.

The Swirltex system is housed in modular containerized units, creating a highly mobile and flexible solution to support site-specific configuration. Water quality is predictable and stable, allowing for enhanced water recycling and decreased freshwater use in oil and gas operations.

Swirltex is a Calgary-based clean-technology company that specializes in water treatment. Our mission is to create decentralized and robust solutions to help customers turn a liability into a resource. Our vision is to unlock wastewater reuse across all industries with a goal of net zero wasted water. As a highly innovative company, Swirltex solves complex wastewater problems with a proprietary membrane solution for a wide variety of applications. Our decentralized modular units serve customers when they need it and where they need it. Our water treatment technology has a low environmental footprint, low OPEX & CAPEX, energy savings, high-quality permeate production, and reduction in membrane fouling.


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