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Purlucid Treatment Solutions commences its Low energy water treatment for steam assisted heavy oil recovery project with $8.2 MM in funding support

November 6, 2017 / PurLucid Treatment Solutions (“PurLucid”), working with participants from oil production companies, engineering firms, a University and a global information technology company are commencing commercial deployment of its exclusively licensed water treatment system known as Nanoflotation.


The up to $16 MM project is made possible through non-repayable funding totaling up to C$8.2 million. Specifically, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (“SDTC”) and Emissions Reduction Alberta (“ERA”) have agreed to fund up to $3.2 million and $5 million, respectively to assist in advancing the commercial deployment.

“Commercialization of technologies in Alberta’s heavy oil industry is exceedingly expensive and virtually unattainable for any but the largest companies without substantive support” said Dr. McEachern, CEO of Purlucid. “Canada and Alberta have a strong history of supporting innovation in its resource development, indeed without the support provided through the National Research Council and Alberta programs like AOSTRA, oil production from our oil sands may not have existed and neither would the benefits it provides to the people of Canada. Our mission as Canadian innovators now is to make that production more environmentally sustainable.”

The system will deploy the highly charged Replaceable Skin Layer (RSL™) membrane and High Intensity Froth Flotation (HiFF) system known as Nanoflotation. These have demonstrated performance superiority over other processes typically used to remove contaminants. The technology allows high temperature water treatment at 10-30 times the efficiency of existing ultrafiltration systems and offers numerous environmental benefits, including contaminant removal, mineral recovery, reduced energy demand, smaller footprints and lower capital costs. The system is integral to the highly efficient processing of petrolithium brines for lithium recovery. The technology was a 2017 finalist for the Most Disruptive Technology in the World award by Katerva.

“ERA works with innovators, industry and governments to accelerate technologies that will both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Alberta transition to a lower carbon future,” said ERA CEO, Steve MacDonald. “By supporting the development of this Purlucid technology we are paving the way for cleaner, more sustainable energy sources.”

One of the largest sources of energy loss globally is the cooling of water for treatment and reuse in power and steam generation. Heavy oil production, such as Alberta’s Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), requires large volumes of steam and the resulting produced water is typically cooled prior to treatment for reuse. This cooling results in an energy loss of 0.1 Gj/d per barrel of oil or 2800 Gj/d for a typical SAGD facility. This project seeks to deploy a revolutionary treatment system that can operate at high temperature and pressure and reduce this energy loss and therefore GHG intensity of heavy oil production as well as other steam dependent industries such as power, paper and food production. The system utilizes a highly charged Replaceable Skin Layer (RSL™) membrane that achieves the same or better outcomes as softening with lower energy demand and greater reliability. The RSL™ membrane replaces the flotation and clarification processes normally used for oil and silica removal. High temperature treatment with high efficiency filtration could reduce the water treatment component of GHG emissions per barrel of oil by 88%, saving 57 kT CO2e per year for a single 30,000 boe facility. If this approach were to be deployed in 10% of Alberta’s projected SAGD production by 2030, an estimated savings of 1500 kT CO2e per year could be achieved. This is equivalent to removing 300 thousand cars from the road (EPA-420-F-14-040a). With ERA-SDTC support the expected commercialization project will result in full scale SAGD facility deployment by 2019 greatly assisting in meeting the industry target of lower GHG intensity compared to other oil sources as we head into the next decade.