More than seven years ago, Dennis M. Danzik, a noted American engineer, developed a method for the cost effective extraction of hydrocarbon polymers from waste water. The polymers of particular interest to Mr. Danzik were those from various sources---fats, oils and grease---and the result of his work was a method using bacteria and enzymes to separate valuable oils from unwanted material such as carbohydrates, pectin, and proteins that are also found in waste water sources. Danzik licensed the biological process in 2006 and his method has been used since in Southern Nevada to generate electricity from hydrocarbon polymers extracted from waste water.
Danzik' s laboratory work continued on two different research tracks. The first track's emphasis was the continued improvement of hydrocarbon polymer extraction from waste water using natural biological activity. The second track's emphasis was the development of low-cost methods for treating the significant quantities of waste water remaining after the removal of hydrocarbon polymers. This second track of applied research would ultimately become the foundation for Ridgeline Water Sciences.
Danzik' s contribution to the science of waste water treatment involved both the development of new methods for treatment as well as the application of more efficient engineering practices to existing technologies. Two distinctive processes used in basic reactor science, dialysis and electro-dialysis, were applied in a unique way using catalysts (chemicals that speed reactions) and micro bursts of electrical energy to break water at the molecular level. Danzik' s work and processes encourage water to reject contaminants such as chlorides (salts), magnesium, sulfur, calcium, and other substances that make water difficult to recycle and reuse. The process oxidizes heavy metals and produces ozone (an environmentally friendly way to kill bacteria in water), and it eliminates dangerous gases such as hydrogen sulfide.
Working on behalf of clients engaged in unconventional oil and gas production in need of effective waste water solutions, Ridgelines management met many companies engaged in water treatment. Of those, Danzik' s process and technology appeared to be the most promising.
After several months of successful laboratory tests in 2009, Ridgeline and Danzik' s team came together to form our water sciences division and advance the water-treatment solution. Based on his analysis of the water used and recovered during oil and gas industry operations, Danzik optimized the effectiveness of existing water treatment practices such as cavitation, filtration and reverse osmosis by removing contaminants in particular order across a spectrum of least-cost to highest-cost treatment methods. Benefits of this approach include reduced membrane fouling and lower rejection rates for reverse osmosis systems, accompanied by increased throughput across the membrane. An added benefit is that Danzik' s water treatment process provides for much finer separation of contaminants, providing clients with a means to save additional costs through the recovery of hydrocarbons emulsified or entrained in produced water.
The electro-catalytic and dialysis water processing technology successfully produces electro-catalytic agitation and ion exchanges in rapid succession. Key aspects of the technology include a proprietary stepped reactor / processing tank design, and use of additional water treatment actions in one or more modular units (e.g. activated materials to treat dissolved solids and gasses, settling tanks, conventional filtering, and membrane technology).
The process works at temperatures from 4˚C to 240˚C and no additional energy is used to bring the fluid to a "working" temperature, resulting in very low energy requirement. The technology produces a cleaned "Water Product" that not only can be reused; it can be adjusted as desired (for a Water Product preferable to sourcing fresh water).
In the first year of development, process flow rates increased from 400 cubic meters per day to over 2,000 cubic meters per day on our early generation four train system. At the same time, energy consumption was reduced from 300 watts per 800 liters to 300 watts per 7,000 liters of water processed, and we believe there are opportunities for further improvement. To date, we have invested over $20 million developing and deploying our technology from bench test to full commercial operation. We will continue to invest in R&D to enhance, refine and develop our systems to meet our clients' needs and provide solutions to their problems.