News stories this year have brought the issue of oil contamination of water to the forefront for even the least interested of parties. In fact, the recovery process since the Deepwater Horizon oil platform explosion on April 20th of this year was the top story of nearly every 5 o’clock news program around the country for several months. Questions of how best to contain the spill, cap the well, and clean up the gulf have been especially important as we attempt to ascertain the true effects of the contamination on our seas and ocean life. So far, no one seems to have a “magic bullet.”
That all may change however, as a new oil and water separation technology, pioneered by Canada’s Cancen Oil and Wescorp Energy, Inc. has been showing some promising results. Still in its preliminary stages of testing, the “H2Omaxx” system is outperforming even its creators’ expectations. “We are very pleased with the preliminary results from the unit’s operation,” said Cancen CEO Keith Talbot, “H2Omaxx has been effectively processing a wide variety of waste streams from the Alberta oil sands, which are considered to be some of the dirtiest and most difficult water to clean in the oil industry. H20maxx is successfully cleaning produced water — which contained in excess of 25% oil and 10% solids and also contained asphaltines and grease — to new, higher levels once thought unattainable with conventional methods.”
The H2Omaxx system utilizes tiny bubbles of nitrogen gas – ranging from one micron down to a nanometer – to lift oil droplets to the surface of a holding tank that can then be skimmed off.
While still in its initial phase of testing, the unit is showing promising results that both its creators and onlookers alike can’t help but “wonder if” could be signs of prospective application outside of oil sands. Wescorp has designed the H2Omaxx technology unit in a variety of sizes, including a mobile unit and commercial units. With the ability to process up to 65,000 barrels a day, the commercial unit could certainly be used in an oil cleanup situation.
The oil spill is long from gone. In fact, nearly 25% of the oil calculated to have exited the well over the last 4 months is sitting nearly a mile under the surface of the ocean in a 22 mile-long strip. Hopefully, with the help of technologies like the H2Omaxx, we can reclaim our oceans for the environment.