When we look at the ecosystem of cleantech, the challenges of traditional energy processes allow for intuitive and creative people to develop solutions. Not only benefiting financially in regards to mitigating waste disposal but also to offer more efficient ways to process or repurpose waste, thus decreasing the impact on our environment. The question is, who are the hard-working individuals taking on these challenges?
Swirltex is a Calgary based tech company that has developed a new form of filtration for wastewater. Founded by president and founder of Swirltex, Peter Christou, continue to advance their technology for a wide array of applications. Speaking with their CEO, Melanie McClare, their mission is to turn wastewater into a resource and treating it at industrial lagoons. Tied with a passion for reversing the detriment of pollution, their technology offers major benefits to local and indigenous communities across the country.
Buoyancy Based Membrane Filtration – “The Swirltex Difference”
Swirltex has developed a unique membrane filtration system to extract contaminants and solids that are suspended in water. If we consider how wastewater is processed at the industrial level, with their technology implemented, the ‘dirty’ stream of water is pumped through the system at much lower energy requirements than a traditional membrane system. The liquid is then injected with microbubbles in a rotational manner to create a vortex. The purpose is to create a flotation effect for the contaminants so that they bind to the microbubbles, such that their buoyancy is manipulated increasing their ability to float and separate from the liquid.
A permeable wall has the ability to allow liquids to pass through it while containing solid particles within the membrane. The flow pattern used in the Swirltex system forces the water to the outer surface of the membrane where it can be effectively passed through the permeable walls. The solid particles and contaminants are bound by the microbubbles to form a froth that channels to the center of the membrane to reduce any interaction with the permeable wall. High-quality clean water is produced with less pumping power to achieve the same production. Truly unique, this system achieves a far more efficient way to treat wastewater while reducing energy usage.
“Traditional membranes have not been able to perform well in some more difficult wastewater chemistries. So what Swirltex has done is created a way to be able to handle those more difficult wastewater streams, and help produce a very high-quality ultra-filtered water, so that companies have the option to reuse that water rather than disposing of it.” – Melanie McClare, CEO
The Importance of Data Monitoring
Identified with the introduction of IoT and AI, the ability to perform faster, more efficient data monitoring has the potential for major benefits to systems like Swirltex and industries such as energy production and agriculture. Consider that IoT and AI monitoring in real-time could mitigate the occurrence of leaks within membranes, quality inefficiencies, seasonal variants, loss of heat or overheating of valuable material.
Another pressing issue is monitoring the quality of our drinking water. As technology continues to advance, IoT and AI could play a key role in establishing new standards of quality and safety for generations. As mentioned in an article published by Water Intelligence, “Using AI to Diagnose Water Consumption Patterns”, maintenance teams could also benefit in mitigating the time spent inspecting miles of pipe or manually checking multiple metres. Speaking with Melanie, she offers her thoughts on how moving towards real-time data monitoring could play a major role in the future of water treatment.
“The drivers behind artificial intelligence adoption and water quality are not only societal but there’s also an industrial component around saving money. So for example, if a customer can rectify an issue in real-time rather than having to do a downstream treatment to get the water to specification, that will save them money. The drivers are not only economic, but also the increasing societal pressures for people to understand what is in their drinking water, rivers and streams that their kids are swimming in…”
Swirltex has recently entered into a partnership with Edmonton International Airport(EIA). The goal of this collaboration is to treat the stormwater and deicing fluid run-off during the winter months. Their technology is on-site with a new portable treatment system for lagoons. Incredible opportunity for Swirltex to showcase their technology and effectiveness all while benefiting the surrounding communities. Melanie offers her thoughts on this recent partnership.
“Edmonton International Airport is a very progressive and innovative organization and is very environmentally focused. This partnership is to help them understand what is happening in their storm water system, how it relates to the de-icing fluids that they use during the winter, and the overall effects on the environment to get them to a certain specification for safer rivers and streams.”
“This collaboration can reduce the need for future stormwater treatment facilities at EIA and develop a local technology that could serve the needs of airports around the world.” – Steve Maybee, EIA VP of Operations and Infrastructure
If you would like to learn more about Swirltex and their buoyancy based membrane filtration technology, visit their website here or via their social media below.
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary
Indigenous-owned LNG projects in jeopardy with proposed emissions cap, leaders warn
Indigenous leaders meet with Japan’s ambassador to Canada Kanji Yamanouchi. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future
From the Canadian Energy Centre
By Cody Ciona
‘It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table’
A proposed cap on oil and gas emissions will threaten opportunities for Indigenous communities to bring cleaner alternatives to coal to international markets, Indigenous leaders warned during a recent webinar.
Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, fears Indigenous-led projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are threatened by the cap, which is essentially a cap on production.
“If we’re going to help China and India get off of coal and help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it makes common sense for us to be selling our LNG to Asia and to other countries. To put a cap on, it would just stop us from doing that,” Ogen said.
“It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table.”
Indigenous communities across Canada have increasingly become involved in oil and gas projects to secure economic prosperity and reduce on-reserve poverty.
Since 2022, more than 75 First Nations and Metis communities have entered ownership agreements across western Canada. Among those are key projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the joint investment of 23 communities to obtain a 12 per cent ownership stake in several oil sands pipelines.
The planned federal emissions cap will stall progress toward economic reconciliation, Ogen said.
“Our leaders did not accept this and fought hard to have rights and titles recognized,” she said.
“These rights were won through persistence and determination. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally at the table with more control over our destiny.”
Chris Sankey, CEO of Blackfish Enterprises and a former elected councillor for the Lax Kw’alaams Band in B.C., said the proposed emissions cap could stifle Indigenous communities pushing for poverty reduction.
“We’re working hard to try to get our people out of poverty. All [the emissions cap is] doing is pushing them further into debt and further into poverty,” he said.
“When oil and gas is doing well, our people do well.”
Together, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, LNG Canada project and Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $10 billion in contracts with Indigenous and local businesses
Indigenous employment in the oil and gas industry has also increased by more than 20 per cent since 2014.
For Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, an emissions cap feels like a step in the wrong direction after years of action to become true economic partners is finally making headway.
“Being a participant in the natural resource sector and making true partnerships, has been beneficial for First Nations,” he said.
“So, when you see a government trying to attack this industry in that regard, it is very disheartening.”
Taxpayers Federation hoping for personal tax relief in Alberta budget
From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Albertans need income tax relief now
Author: Kris Sims
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Alberta government to stick to its promise of cutting its income tax in tomorrow’s provincial budget.
“Cutting the provincial income tax was a huge campaign promise from the UCP and it needs to happen right away,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “Finance Minister Nate Horner should announce this income tax cut in the budget tomorrow.”
The provincial budget will be presented Feb. 29.
During the 2023, election the UCP promised to create a lower income tax bracket for the first $59,000 of earnings, charging eight per cent instead of the current 10 per cent.
The UCP said that move would save Albertans earning $60,000 or more about $760 per year.
The Alberta government currently charges workers who make under $142,292 per year a 10 per cent income tax rate.
By comparison, British Columbia charges an income tax of five per cent on the first $45,654 of earnings and seven per cent up to $91,310.
In B.C., a worker earning $100,000 pays about $5,857 in provincial income tax.
In Alberta that same worker pays about $7,424 in provincial income tax.
“Taxpayers need to see a balanced budget, spending restraint and our promised lower income taxes in this budget,” said Sims.
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