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 centre 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.
CEO Melanie McClare said, “Traditional membranes have not been able to perform well in some more difficult wastewater chemistries. 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.”
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.
McClare shared, “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.
Said McClare about the recent partnership, “Edmonton International Airport is a very progressive and innovative organisation, 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.”
Steve Maybee, EIA Vice President of Operations and Infrastructure, said, “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.”