Saltworks Technologies Inc. is changing the way the world thinks about industrial wastewater. Saltworks develops, builds and operates cost saving, low energy solutions for desalination, brine management, and chemical recovery. Their innovative solutions provide both environmental and economic benefits by reducing the volume of and extracting valuable byproducts from industry’s most challenging wastewaters. Saltworks’ systems have successfully treated some of the most difficult-to-treat industrial wastewaters such as steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) blowdown, enhanced oil recovery produced water, and shale gas produced water.
Saltworks serves a range of target markets increasingly concerned with water reuse and wastewater management: oil & gas, shale, mining, landfills, power generation, chemical production, food and beverage, and others. They’ve even sold a system to NASA for the international space station. Major industry verticals look to Saltworks to treat waters too challenging for conventional treatment methods or to complement existing treatment plants by maximizing fresh water recovery from their concentrated brine streams.
Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Vancouver, BC, Canada, Saltworks is one of the few companies in the world which manufactures both membrane-based and thermal-based water treatment technologies (the other company being Suez Environmental who recently acquired GE’s water treatment assets). Saltworks’ membrane systems provide a lower cost means to reduce volume and extract specific contaminants. Saltworks’ thermal evaporative systems can eliminate disposal volumes entirely for zero liquid discharge (ZLD) applications. The company’s technical capability, including extensive knowledge of water treatment chemistry, combined with their operations experience, allows Saltworks to deliver superior end-to-end treatment solutions that meet customers’ economic and regulatory needs.
Putting the customer first
Saltworks prides itself on excellent technical knowledge, customer service, and responsiveness. They work to first understand each customer’s unique water challenge and objectives, with each project first starting with an engineering analysis to determine the optimal solution.
Saltworks’ innovation and process engineering, along with excellence in project delivery, has led to repeat orders from major industrial customers. It has also led to investment from key players in the oil & gas and mining sectors after the completion of successful projects: Saltworks’ shareholders include BP, Cenovus Energy, ConocoPhillips, and Teck Resources.
Solutions developed for industry & with industry support
Saltworks’ products were developed from the ground-up for reliable operation on even the most impaired wastewaters. They increase freshwater recovery, lower disposal costs, and recover value. They also augment conventional water processes by improving overall reliability, performance, and economics. Saltworks’ products are designed for ease-of-use, with intelligent automation and self-cleaning capabilities. Their products are backed by Saltworks’ ROAM platform, a secure, always-on remote operations and asset management system.
Saltworks worked for six years with major oil & gas companies to design what they and many others consider the world’s most reliable crystallizer. Their SaltMaker, a low temperature evaporator-crystallizer, reliably treats even the toughest brines to produce freshwater while eliminating wastewater disposal completely. The SaltMaker achieves this by concentrating all contaminants to solids for true ZLD. It requires only 20-25% of the thermal energy used by conventional evaporation systems, and can use low-grade waste heat for further energy savings. The SaltMaker is ideal for treating waters on-site to reduce trucking and off-site disposal costs.
Saltworks also developed the world’s most advanced membrane process for water treatment. It achieves extreme freshwater recoveries on previously scale-limited waters without the need for costly soda ash softening, and does so while concentrating brines to levels previously reserved for thermal evaporation technologies.
Saltworks is driven by an unwavering commitment to innovation and reliability. The company holds approximately 60 patents and boasts a strong safety culture with experience completing cooperative work on oil, gas, and mine sites.
Ben Sparrow: The man behind the success of Saltworks
Ben Sparrow, Co-founder and CEO of Saltworks, is a Registered Professional Engineer (BC, Canada) in mechanical engineering with expertise in thermodynamics and process integration. With a background in hydroelectric power generation, Ben developed a keen understanding of the relationship between water and energy. He was drawn to investigating ways of desalinating saltwater using less energy than conventional technologies. Ben’s first invention was a prototype low energy, solar desalination process. After starting Saltworks, he focused on a major global need: reliable treatment of challenging industrial wastewaters.
In addressing this shift to focus on industrial wastewaters, Ben stated, “We listen carefully to our customers and are laser focused on solving their most significant water problems. What is important is being able to quickly adapt to changing customer and market needs – and building the right team to innovate and deliver.” The company has since grown to offer multiple product lines with follow-on international orders across various industry markets.
Future outlook for Saltworks
The industrial desalination and wastewater treatment industry is growing as operators realize the environmental and economic benefits of treating wastewaters on-site and reusing water in their process. The oil & gas sector is no different, and continues to seek solutions for optimizing production and recycling water.
Saltworks continues to expand and develop its product lines to help industry reduce freshwater consumption, disposal costs, and greenhouse gas emissions. Ben added, “We are constantly developing the next generation of solutions for the market’s current and future water treatment needs. We also provide operations and plant monitoring so that operators can focus on their core business, while leaving running the water treatment plant to our experienced team.”
While talking about the future growth of the company, Ben also noted significant potential in selectively recovering value from wastewaters, explaining “We’re targeting extracting specific valuable constituents from wastewaters by using our advanced membrane to split up the periodic table – we are effectively mining from wastewater.” This could change the wastewater treatment landscape by turning the industry into a value production process.
Saltworks continues to deliver cutting edge innovation, best-in-class customer support, and leading reliability with an eye on the future of water treatment technology.