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What is EWS Petro?

EWS Petro™, powered by OriginOil’s proprietary Electro Water Separation technology, is a chemical free, low energy continuous process that efficiently removes oils, suspended solids, insoluble organics and bacteria in produced and “frac flowback” water.

A number of patents have been filed on EWS Petro’s unique combination of two major processes, electro-coagulation and electro-flotation.
Using these processes, EWS Petro can achieve up to 99.9% removal of oils, and 99.5% removal of suspended solids, in the first pass of oil and gas water treatment (as found by Fluid Imaging Technologies and others).

If you are interested in being a licensee or purchasing a complete end-to-end system to fit your needs, please contact us to find out more.

What is Electro Water Separation™?

Electro Water Separation (EWS), the technology EWS Petro uses, is a proprietary two-stage process that uses an electrical charge to treat the water.

The first stage is a bank of reactor tubes. The second stage is a flotation chamber.

Both stages of EWS use electrodes but they work differently, and complement each other to achieve a unique and patent-pending synergy.

In both stages, a low-current electrical charge powers the electrodes. Proprietary algorithms shape the pulses dynamically in response to changing water inlet and outlet conditions.

How do the two stages of Electro Water Separation work together?

In the first stage, the oil and water emulsion is broken, which separates the particles. Then, these particles are coagulated into clumps.

In the second stage, a cloud of electrically induced gasses pushes the coagulated material to the surface, so it can be raked off for disposal or reuse.

How does the industry treat contaminated water now?

All water must be treated in some way as it comes out the well. Conventionally, various “filtering” technologies are used.

These range from simple decanting to distillation, in a multi-stage process designed to meet quality or regulatory standards necessary for disposal, reinjection or return to surface water.

In many areas, minimally-treated water is trucked offsite to salt water disposal wells (SDWs). The trend is to move away from SDWs, due to the added expense of trucking, and environmental considerations. Water reuse is the new trend, especially as costs are going down.

How does EWS Petro fit in the marketplace?

The first step in any treatment process is to remove oil and suspended solids from the water. EWS Petro is a better way to accomplish this step.

Subsequent steps use an array of existing technologies to remove heavy metals, scaling chemicals, salts and other chemicals. These technologies can work better if EWS Petro is used first. Integration with existing downstream technologies offers significant licensing and joint venture opportunities.

The primary end-users are the oil & gas service companies. We have identified the players and who are the best strategic customers, and we intend to support our licensees fully to supply the demand smoothly and with high quality.

What savings can be expected by utilizing EWS Petro to recycle frac flowback water?

Recycling frac flowback water and produced water for future fracking operations can save as much as $200,000 per frack job.  Reusing the water significantly reduces the cost of fresh water, trucking and disposal costs.


The Water Treatment Market

How large are the frac flowback and produced water treatment markets?

The frac water cleanup market is forecast to grow nine-fold to $9 billion in 2020, a 28 percent annual growth rate (Lux Research).

In addition, the produced water market is set to grow from $5.0 billion in 2010 to $9.9 billion in 2025 – a compound annual growth rate of 4.7 percent (Global Water Intelligence).

The equipment market for produced water treatment alone, which OriginOil serves, is set to grow from $693 million in 2010 to $2.9 billion in 2025 – a compound annual growth rate of 10.1percent (Global Water Intelligence).

How is “frac flowback” different from produced water?

Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is the injection of about two million gallons of water and chemicals at a time into a well, to open up the gas or oil trapped in shale deep below. This one-time injection is called a “frac job”. A well may require up to 40 frac jobs.

But while “fracking” gets all the headlines for its massive use of water and chemicals, it is an intermittent process.

Meanwhile, oil and gas wells all over the world inject water continuously to improve productivity. What comes back up, along with natural water from deep aquifers, is a flood of “produced” water that must be managed.

Over the life of a well, about eight barrels of this produced water are brought to the surface for every barrel of oil. The oil industry is essentially a water industry, which delivers oil as a by-product of produced water.

On the other hand, “frac flowback” water is the 15 to 30 percent of injected frac water that flows back to the wellhead in the few weeks following a frac job. This frac flowback water is often more contaminated than produced water because of the chemicals added to the frac water before it is injected.

How did OriginOil get involved in the oil and gas water treatment market and what makes you believe that EWS Petro is the solution to this challenge?

Our strategic partner, Pacific Advanced Civil Engineering (PACE) has been designing and building water treatment systems for over 30 years.

In early 2012, PACE was frustrated with the lack of performance they were experiencing with a multi-stage system they were developing for treating frac flowback water.

OriginOil volunteered to test its algae harvesting process to determine if it could be effective for treatment of frac and produced water.

The first test conducted on a sample of frac flowback water from West Texas indicated that the OriginOil technology substantially outperformed the combined chemical flocculant and dissolved air flotation system that PACE had previously tested. Since then, continued lab tests, and field tests in Lost Hills, California and Pleasanton, Texas, have proven over and over again that the technology now called EWS Petro is effective.

Who are the competitors to OriginOil’s EWS Petro technology?

OriginOil’s EWS Petro is a player in the emerging electro-coagulation (EC) field, which is rapidly gaining acceptance as a way to speed up oil and gas water treatment and reduce the use of chemicals.

Other companies in the EC field include: Halliburton, Bosque, Ecolotron, Quantum-ionics, Kaselco and Ecosphere.

Other technologies also compete with EWS Petro, but are differentiated by their use of chemical coagulants, batch operation or high level of consumables. These companies include: Aqua-Tech, Aqua-Pure, Myclex, Osmonics, Filterboxx, MECO, Layne and Altela.

OriginOil’s EWS Petro technology has many advantages over potential competitors, because it is chemical-free, accomplishes a very high percentage of removal in the first pass, is highly scalable because it is continuous-flow, and it may achieve significantly lower energy consumption due to the system’s unique configuration and design.

How many systems has Halliburton sold?

Halliburton does not sell it system. It provides water treatment service with its equipment.

What is Halliburton’s business plan with regards to frack water cleanup?

Halliburton must be the oil service company on site for a E&P operator to use their water treatment system. This actually is to the benefit of OriginOil CLEAN-FRAC system, since we, or our licensees, will sell or provide service to any E&P operator.

The Technology

Can you explain the EWS Petro process and what it does?

EWS Petro utilizes OriginOil’s Electro Water Separation process which operates in two stages:

Stage 1:

The process water passes through Single Step Extraction™ (SSE) reactor tubes where an electrical charge is applied to the electrodes.

The   electrical   charge is   controlled   by   proprietary   algorithms developed to optimize efficiency by monitoring inlet and outlet water parameters. Different electrode materials are available and are predetermined by the inlet water contamination anticipated.

The process is a proprietary form of electro-coagulation. It causes three basic effects: breaks the oil and water emulsion to separate oil into droplets, neutralizes the repulsive charge on the suspended solids and oil droplets allowing the particles and droplets to coalesce and lastly kills the bacteria. The coalesced droplets and solids exit the reactor tubes as agglomerated particles.

Stage 2:

After the agglomerated particles pass through the SSE reactor tubes, they enter the electro-flotation chamber, where an electrical charge is applied to banks of anodes and cathodes.

This electrolyzes the water, generating a cloud of micro-bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen. These bubbles attach themselves to organic material, lifting it to the surface where it can be easily removed.

The configuration of anodes and cathodes within the chamber minimizes the power requirements and maximizes the exposure of the agglomerated particles to the micro-bubbles.

The mechanical design of the chamber allows heavy material to fall to the bottom to be removed, while hydrocarbons and other organics are raked from the surface onto a dewatering belt that minimizes water content. The clear effluent of treated process water flows through an outlet in the middle of the chamber.

Electro Water Separation Diagram

Click to Enlarge

How long have electro-coagulation and electro-flotation been used?

Electrolytic processes to separate oil in wastewater were described in the patent literature as early as 1903. The process was used to treat condensed water from steam engines, before it entered the steam boiler as feed water. The unit used iron sheets as the anode material; the iron was oxidized during the process, and had to be replaced after a while.

Since then both electro-coagulation and electro-flotation processes have been used to clean waste water streams from various industries, such as the textiles, oil production, metal finishing, domestic sewage, mining and many more. Today’s electro-coagulation and electro-flotation technologies have progressed alongside the development of materials and electrical power systems.

What is OriginOil’s patent position with the EWS Petro technology?

OriginOil’s business is based on developing a strong intellectual property portfolio and establishing a network of OEM distributors and core technology licensees. OriginOil has 37 patent applications pending before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and World Intellectual Property Organization.

Of those 37 patent applications, 7 have applicability to water remediation for the Oil and Gas market.

What is electro-coagulation?

Electro-coagulation is a process of destabilizing suspended, emulsified or dissolved contaminants in an aqueous medium by introducing electrical current into the medium. The electrical current provides the electromotive force causing the chemical reactions. The electrical current is introduced into the water via parallel electrodes constructed of various metals generally selected to optimize the removal process. The two most common electrode materials are Iron (Fe) and Aluminum (Al). Metal ions will be split off or sacrificed into the liquid medium. This will form a nucleus, which will attract the contaminants into a precipitate that will be removed from the treated fluid. These metal ions tend to form metal oxide or hydroxide nuclei that are an electro-coagulation attractant to the contaminants, which have been destabilized.

Electrolytic coagulation, a form of electro-coagulation, achieves similar results without the seeding of metal ions from sacrificial anodes. In this case the electrode materials are inert materials, such as: carbon or coated titanium.

What is electro-flotation?

Electro-flotation is a process of floating of pollutants to water surface by tiny bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen gases generated from water electrolysis. Therefore, the electrochemical reactions at the cathode and anode are hydrogen evolution and oxygen evolution reactions, respectively.

How effective is the EWS Petro process?

Testing of frac flowback and produced water processed with EWS Petro  has  been  conducted  in  the  lab  with  samples  supplied  from various regions of the country, as well as in the field at Lost Hills, California and Eagle Ford, Texas. Before and after samples were tested for Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), a measurement of the amount of organic (hydrocarbons) compounds in water, and Total Suspended Solids (TSS), a measurement of non-dissolved particulate in the water.

Samples were also tested on the PetroCAM, which optically analyzes the water for free oil and suspended solids. Results have varied because of different source waters, but the reduction in oil or hydrocarbon is as high as 99.9 percent and the reduction in suspended solids is as high as 99.5 percent. Tests are now being conducted on the amount of bacteria in the water before and after processing. A 99 percent reduction is expected based upon outside lab testing done on algae water.

Commercial Rollout

How is EWS Petro deployed?

Depending upon the desired water quality after treatment, the EWS Petro system can be utilized as a standalone system or as the first stage of a multi-stage system, incorporating other stages, such as filtering and membranes, downstream from the EWS Petro system.

If the goal is simply to recover the hydrocarbons and remove the suspended solids so as to reuse the produced water for subsequent fracking or flooding operations, the EWS Petro system can be used as standalone system.

Due to the technology’s modular design, the system can optionally be built as drop-in modules immersed in frac water tanks.

If the goal is achieve water standards for potable or Class B (ground) water, the EWS Petro would be the first stage of a multi-stage process.

How close to production is the EWS Petro system?

Production of EWS Petro systems is complete, and are now available for purchase or licensing. A 1,000 barrel per day demonstration-scale unit was recently showcased in Colorado. Find out more: here.

Our first licensee, Pearl H2O, a PACE technology spin-off, has completed and installed a commercial system which processes 1200 barrels per day. Pearl H2O installed the system, branded Pearl Blue™, and began a performance testing phase for treating frac flowback and produced water from the Monterey shale formation. (View Brochure.)

Will OriginOil be manufacturing the EWS Petro system?

OriginOil’s primary strategy is to license the EWS technology for others to manufacture and market. OriginOil is also offering a complete end-to-end water treatment system including EWS, branded CLEAN-FRAC 1000, for sale. If OriginOil sells a CLEAN-FRAC system, an OriginOil OEM will manufacture and support the system. A licensees will manufacture the equipment themselves or subcontract the manufacturing to a company approved by OriginOil to build systems, such as Industrial Systems, Inc (ISI).

What support will I receive for installation and operation?

OriginOil systems are delivered with complete manuals and instructions for installation and operation. In addition, our technicians are available from our offices during business hours, US Pacific Time, to help you achieve a successful installation.

You may send your technical personnel for training and certification at OriginOil.

For an additional charge, OriginOil will send a technician onsite to install and commission your system(s) and train a specified number of your staff in the operation and maintenance of our system.

What is your warranty and service contract policy?

Our systems come with a 90 day warranty (conditions apply) beginning with system acceptance.

Following warranty expiration, a service contract is required to maintain continuous support. It consists of two elements:

  1. Remote support: technical assistance which includes telemetry, where systems are connected to the Internet.
  2. Various types of depot and express contracts.

We will be happy to provide our service contract information on request.

Is the manufacture largely an assembly operation of already existing, generic components?

There are many generic components such as: pumps and electrical components. Custom components such as tanks, anodes and cathodes are designed with the guidance of OriginOil, and will be manufactured by either OriginOil or the OEM.

OriginOil plans to retain in-house control of an integrated circuit assembly, which incorporates the dual power supply and an embedded processor. The processor reduces the skill level required to operate the system using algorithms developed by OriginOil to control the power to the electrode arrays auto-adaptively.

The embedded processor can be accessed over the internet by OriginOil to verify system authenticity and to update the algorithms.

Is the equipment simple to operate?

Yes, the embedded processor will automatically control components such as, pump operation, level controls, but most importantly it will control the pulsed power to the Electro Water Separation technology driving the Single Step Extraction reactor tubes and the flotation system.

How quickly can you get to commercial scale production?

A 1200 barrel per day system is already complete.

The design parameters necessary for scaling up to larger systems are well understood. We envision systems as large as ten barrels per minute (15,000 bpd), potentially operated in parallel for massive scale-up.

How quickly can the system be installed on a drilling site?

The system is mounted on a skid, requiring no foundation or pad. Connections are minimal and standard. Installation can take place within one day of delivery to a drill site.

The system could also be mounted in standard shipping containers or be built as fixed system.

Is the water treatment plant scalable to a reasonable commercial size of say, 10,000 bbl./day, or as a modular system reaching to the desired capacity?

PearlBlue’s first commercial system is designed for treatment throughput of up to 5,000 bbl/day. Today, we are very comfortable with that level of scalability and even higher.

As to what is the limit in a single piece of equipment, we can point out that standard dissolved air flotation systems can process as much as 50,000 bbl/day. We understand the scaling parameters of flow rate versus size and power and should be able to do the same. What size is the most efficient and practical – we do not know yet. However, we estimate that 10,000 bbl/day will be a reasonable scale for a single system and certainly reasonable for parallel systems.

What is the operating expense of the system?

The projected operating of the PearlBlue system with nano-filters is $1.05 per barrel ($0.025/gal). The EWS Petro system alone is about half of that cost.

EWS Petro’s standalone energy cost is about 0.3 kWh/barrel.

How much oil will be left in the frac flowback or produced water after treatment?

The EWS Petro effluent will still have 10 parts per million oil and suspended solids. In the case of PearlBlue’s Frack-Back system the nano-filter used after the EWS Petro system will polish most remaining oil and solids.

EWS Petro can be integrated into a variety of water cleaning processes, which could produce ground water or potable water, depending on the need of the client. Many of these downstream systems are readily available for purchase and integration.

Licensing EWS Petro

What commercial agreements have been signed?

To date, OriginOil has signed OEM Agreements for licensing with two companies:

i. PearlBlue, a technology spinoff of Pacific Advanced Civil Engineering, has designed and scheduled installation for a three-quarter barrel per minute system during the first half of 2014. The system, which utilizes EWS Petro as its first stage, is designed to treat frac flowback water so it can be recycled as new frac water.

ii. Industrial Systems Inc, which is based in Delta, CO, manufactures and markets moveable water tanks for hydraulic fracturing. It will be manufacturing and selling EWS water treatment systems in conjunction with the water tanks.

There are also on-going discussions with a number of other potential Original Equipment Manufacturers.

These include companies that manufacture equipment that would benefit from using EWS Petro as a precursor to their system, or companies that are system integrators.

What is OriginOil’s licensing strategy?

OriginOil offers direct sales, or the option of licensing through OEMs. OriginOil seeks OEMs who will embed the technology in their own end-to-end systems. Ultimately, OriginOil will seek master licensees for each industry application.

OriginOil’s OEM/licensing model offers a host of potential advantages to OriginOil and its partners including:

  • limited capital requirements
  • no capital cost for volume manufacturing
  • no time or expense wasted on building distribution channels
  • collaboration with major players instead of competing with them
  • the opportunity to make the core EWS technology a de facto standard in multiple industries.

What types of licensees do you seek for EWS Petro?

We are interested in two types of OEM candidates:

  1. The first are those manufacturers of other water treatment products that would benefit from using EWS Petro as a precursor to their process. A good example would be a manufacturer of reverse osmosis membranes.
  2. The second potential licensee would be a system integrator who wants to satisfy a market need by bringing together and manufacturing a multi-stage system, which would include the EWS Petro system.

Will licensees be non-exclusive or exclusive?

Our OEM licenses are non-exclusive and subordinated to any future exclusive license OriginOil may grant. This allows OriginOil to reserve exclusive rights for master or regional licensees.

The non-exclusive licenses require the OEMs to always sell our technology bundled, and not separate. This will help prevent commoditization and channel conflict, as the systems that integrate EWS Petro will be very different due to the value that each OEM adds through the other processes it includes.

Does OriginOil offer any other  commercialization strategies?

We are also establishing a performance-based joint venture program. Under the program, joint ventures will be formed to build and install EWS Petro systems at the facilities of oil service companies. The oil service companies will not be required to purchase the equipment, but will pay for each gallon of water processed.

Each machine will be operated by a separate JV. The program is meant to supplement standard licensing activities, by expediting the commercialization and revenue generated by EWS Petro.

Can the technology handle an oil and water emulsion?

The electro-coagulation process that occurs in the Single Step Extraction reactor tubes causes three effects: breaks the oil and water emulsion to separate oil into droplets, neutralizes particles electrical charge allowing the particles and droplets to coalesce and kills the bacteria in the water.

Will support be largely a matter of replacing parts of the system that do not work, or trying to fix them?

Almost all support will be a matter of replacement. The electrodes will need to be replaced periodically, but are designed for easy replacement. Other components, such as pumps, would simply be replaced upon failure.

By contract the OEMs will provide full warranty support, and a variety of service contracts, backed up by OriginOil, to maintain system uptime so essential in oil and gas operations.

Can the system be easily pre-sold i.e. continually building up an order backlog?

As systems continue to be proven in the field and performance data is advertised, we believe sales will grow dramatically and will challenge our OEMs’ production capability. The primary end-users are the oil & gas service companies. We have identified the players and who are the best strategic customers, and we plan to support our OEMs fully to supply the demand smoothly and with high quality.

What us the anticipated capital cost of say a unit of 10,000 bbl/day?

Since EWS Petro is being licensed and will be integrated into widely varying OEM systems, this cannot be precisely answered.

A one bbl/min (1440 bbl/day) system designed by PACE, which allows the treated water to be recycled as new flood water or frac water, is priced just over $1,000,000.

Certainly, there are significant savings in going to a 10,000 bbl/day system, perhaps a 2.5X multiplier based on the typical price of comparably-sized dissolved air flotation systems. Therefore the final cost may be closer $2,500,000 at 10,000 bbl/day.

Other than occasional anode replacement and normal maintenance, the equipment should last five to ten years, depending on conditions at the drilling site.