B.C. and Alberta cleantech water projects funded by SDTC


Two major water technology projects are getting substantial funding injections from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) as the clean technology (cleantech) market remains on track to exceed $2.5 trillion by 2022.

The two water projects of the nine overall cleantech projects receiving funding consist of $1.4 million for Calgary’s Swirltex and $2.8 million for Victoria’s Pani Energy.

Swirltex says its technology treats wastewater through a unique process that provides positive results with less energy and improves on conventional membrane technology. The company says that the key to its system is the “distinctive flow pattern within the tubular membrane.” Suspended solids, oil and other contaminants are channeled away from the membrane surface, the company explains, allowing cleaner water to pass through the membrane pores for clean, consistent water.

“The ability to manipulate the buoyancy of contaminants within the liquid stream allows Swirltex to treat a wide range of wastewater types that would otherwise not be reusable,” the company states in an overview of its technology.

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According to Swirltex, its technology is capable of treating wastewater from airport runoff lagoons, tailings ponds, as well as food and beverage wastewater. Its industrial services include enhanced chemical and biological treatment with aeration and mixing, as well contaminant isolation.

The company ran a pilot project on a sample of produced water from an oil and gas production site in Northern British Columbia that demonstrated a significant reduction in total suspended solids levels and oil content within the water to below <5ppm.

Creating water system efficiencies

B.C.’s Pani Energy received funding from SDTC for the development of optimization tools for water treatment plants that aggregates and analyzes data from different sources in Victoria. Current tools leave critical water infrastructures vulnerable to system upsets and performance losses, the company suggests.

“Pani has an R&D arm that is sharpening the cutting edge of data in water,” says entrepreneur and mechanical engineer, Devesh Bharadwaj, a University of Victoria graduate who founded Pani Energy.

The company’s leaders say they provide cloud-based machine learning software to create efficiencies in industrial- and city-scale water treatment infrastructures. Pani’s award-winning Artificially Intelligent Digital Operator Coach “ingests plant data and instructs plant operators how to optimize their plant’s performance,” the company explains in an overview.

Pani’s website says its system collects data from programmable logic controllers, logs and lab tests, then runs the data through models that will alert staff with actionable analytics.

The University of Victoria also recently partnered with Pani Energy to monitor for signs of COVID-19 in local wastewater. Over the summer, the company began receiving samples from its first utility partner, the Capital Regional District, which will regularly provide UVic with samples.

Other notable cleantech projects that recently received funding from SDTC include Hifi Engineering, which builds sensing and monitoring technology for intelligent wellbores and pipelines; and Soléco, which transforms unsorted plastics into high-energy products, such as low sulfur diesel, industrial and heating oil, through pyrolysis, the thermal decomposition of organic matter in the absence of oxygen.


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