Company Profile Page: BioLargo, Inc.
Water is now being called ‘the new gold’ because usable water is growing scare and is arguably our planet’s most valuable resource. We use it to produce oil and gas. We power our cities and run our factories with it. We grow crops and feed livestock with it. Like the air we breathe, water is essential for life. Relative to the seemingly endless supply of water, ‘usable water’ is becoming more difficult to find while demand continues to increase.
Two thirds of the surface of our planet is covered with water, but 97% is saltwater and not usable for consumption, agriculture or most other industrial purposes. There are countless desalinization plants around the globe, but there is no technology that converts salt water to fresh water cost-effectively and in the vast amounts needed. Of all the water on the planet, less than 1% is fresh water. That freshwater is found in rivers, lakes and groundwater, but flooding, natural disasters, and industrialization are rapidly polluting much of that and reducing it even further.
One of many sources of water pollution comes from the recovery and refining processes to produce the oil and gas we need for our homes, our cars and our factories. It is estimated that oil production will have to double in the next 20 years just to keep up with the increased demand. That may seem like a challenging but achievable objective, but with the advent of non-conventional, but essential supply sources like oil sands and shale gas, meeting that goal could require 4 gallons of water to produce one gallon of oil from oil sands or fracking, and another 4 gallons of water to refine one gallon of gas. In light of the heavy water requirements, the heavy water pollution, and the growing opposition to water pollution, the goal to expand energy production suddenly becomes daunting.
There are two formidable obstacles related to the water that is absolutely essential to the oil industry. First, there is a shortage in many regions that is already acting as a restraint on production. Second, the enormous amounts of wastewater produced from the recovery process is increasing the threat of toxic contamination of rivers, lakes and groundwater, and is becoming an economic and political barrier to further oil and gas production until more usable water can be found and until the toxic wastewater can be decontaminated quickly, cost-effectively, and safely returned to the earth.
The massive amounts of wastewater from oil recovery, fracking and refining are problematic, but are only the tip of the iceberg. According to EPA estimates, oil & gas and mining use about 1% of the useable water supply while agriculture uses about 37%. The wastewater from oil & gas and mining is highly toxic, but the wastewater from agriculture also contains large amounts of toxic chemicals and nutrients that are polluting much of the remaining usable water. Furthermore, the United Nations estimates that up to 90% of toxic wastewater in developing countries is sent untreated into rivers and open water bodies.
Agriculture and oil and gas are not the only source of contaminants threatening our water supply. Mining, industrial manufacturing, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals greatly add to the problem. Evidence of the enormous scope of contaminated water is supported by the fact that there are close to a hundred different wastewater treatment technologies.
If any of the traditional solutions were truly cost-effective at a scale capable of tackling these high volume needs, then there would be no problem. We would have ample clean and safe water for all our needs, but the simple truth is that not one of these traditional technologies works well enough to solve the entire problem. They are often too costly and they typically do not process adequate volumes in a short time frame. With the high cost and lengthy time of current water treatment technologies, supply shortages and price increases for clean water seem inevitable.
The Global Water Intelligence reports that water is estimated to be a $360 billion-dollar industry and that fact helps explains why there are so many competing technologies. Just one tiny little sliver of $360 billion is a lot of money. Clearly, a technology that could cost-effectively decontaminate water from agriculture, oil and gas, industrial, and mining operations would be extremely valuable.
Biolargo’s Patented AOS Filter was recently validated in proof of concept testing at the University of Alberta. It was shown effective at dismantling recalcitrant contaminants (the most difficult and hard to manage) in seconds versus hours, and, further, it accomplished the task at 1/20th the power consumption of the nearest competitor, pointing to its future as a disruptive contender in just about every water industry segment.
Iodine is the broadest and most potent disinfectant known. BioLargo’s AOS Filter combines iodine with well-understood technologies like carbon filter media, ceramics or membrane technologies to extract contaminates from a water-flow. The BioLargo AOS Filter converts a traditional filter mechanism into a reactor by adding electricity and oxidizing chemistry across the surface area of the filter media. The device delivers powerful oxidization to dismantle contaminants as they flow through the filter, all the while consuming an incredibly low level of energy. The device features high rates of oxidation, low power, high speed and a continuous flow. The dismantled contaminants are small enough in size that most of them pass through the filter without clogging. AOS therefore greatly extends the filter life.
The net result is expected to yield unparalleled cost effectiveness.
BioLargo’s AOS Filter is Well Positioned
University of Alberta has begun a pilot study to design and build a commercial version of BioLargo’s AOS Filter to prove scalability as well as optimize its functionality for use in the oil sands and across a host of other water treatment segments.
BioLargo recently announced it achieved another important milestone in the pilot testing of the device successfully replicating earlier proof of claim results and it confirmed the role of advanced oxidation within the AOS Filter reactor. This recent pilot work included bench-scale testing of contaminated water taken from actual field operations and it has proven the AOS Filter’s effectiveness at dismantling and removing targeted naphthenic acids, which are considered high-value and hard to contain contaminants of keen interest to the oil sands industry for more than 15 years.
Professor Lynn McMullen at the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta, recently agreed to expand the AOS Filter pilot testing into areas of interest in food processing and agricultural production, including livestock related areas. The initial targets include clean in place (CIP), carcass and food washing and animal drinking water applications.
BioLargo is a founding member of a research chair sponsored by NSERC, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, which organized in 2011 to solve the wastewater tailings ponds problem. Other founding members joining BioLargo include Suncor Energy, Syncrude Canada, Shell Canada, and Canadian Natural Resources, EPCOR, Environment Canada and Alberta Innovates.
BioLargo’s CEO, Dennis Calvert commented, “Our business is very exciting and certainly dynamic. Our patented technology is right on the leading edge and our AOS Filter has recently opened up a huge commercial opportunity for BioLargo. Our company’s culture is entrepreneurial at heart and we thrive on the challenge and adventure to create, validate and commercialize our break-through technologies. Our Chief Science Officer, Kenneth Reay Code continues to set the technical performance bar to the highest standards and his discipline has proven invaluable as we introduce new technology to industry and gain acceptance. Our team is comprised of an impressive list of associates that are both leaders and patent holders from the top ranks of industry. Our future is quite bright.”
BioLargo’s mission is to make life better. It has the technology, the team, and the driving purpose to succeed. BioLargo is a platform technology company that expects to generate the bulk of is revenues through licensing its AOS Filter and other platform technologies it developed that have important application in water, healthcare, energy, and consumer products segments.
The AOS Filter is expected to have a powerful impact on all uses of water around the world.
BioLargo (Symbol: BLGO) is an emerging technology company with world-class science that has been validated by a leading university and that is expected to have a dramatic impact on large industries, the environment; and to substantially increase the world supply of safe usable water. Any technology that cleans water efficiently, cost-effectively, and in unlimited flow rates will be one of the world’s most treasured and valuable technologies.
For more information: WWW.BIOLARGO.COM
The company paid consideration to SNN or its affiliates for this article.
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