Compressing 400 litres of contaminated water into 20L in just a few hours at test scale with minimal energy usage and 380L of clean, reusable water. It might sound outrageous and perhaps impossible, but it is exactly what the latest test ran by Forward Water Technologies achieved during their current project with Vopak in Canada.
This was part one of a two-part trial, which in the following two weeks will reduce those 20L of wastewater to just 2L during the second part. Meaning that only 0.5% of the initial 400L will end up as waste, with 99.5% able to be reutilized.
Furthermore, the initial cleaning process does not utilize any heat or pressure, which makes the energy – and therefore cost – footprint miniscule. Forward Water utilizes an osmosis process with a membrane and proprietary salt solution to filter the water and make it clean again. For the Vopak trials they were dealing with compromised surface and process water, which once treated can be discharged in the surrounding seawater as it was cleaned to potable levels (according to lab tests – before being utilized for human consumption a regulatory body would have to approve prior to final installation).
The potential future ramifications are plain for everyone to see – there is a new way on the market to treat wastewater and not only is it effective, it is also cheap and with a low carbon footprint. This technology has worldwide applications, as being able to create clean, potable water is massive for many areas of the world where water shortages or water quality issues persist.
The Backstory Forward Water CEO Howie Honeyman (left) signing the contract with Leo Brand – CIO Vopak at PortXL Shakedown 2019 (June 20th / Photo credit: Marc Nolte) Forward Water was part of the scale-up track of the 2019 PortXL program, which led to them conducting a pilot project with Vopak in Rotterdam. The pilot was a resounding success, leading up to the signing of a contract at Shakedown. Following the conclusion of the program, Forward Water CEO Howie Honeyman flew back to Canada to scale the project with Vopak at their Canadian terminal. Before that however, Forward Water had previously-agreed business to attend to in Alberta – you can read about their work there via Alberta Innovates.
What’s next? After the test has been concluded and a report fully fleshed out, Forward Water will bring the information back to Vopak and build out a business case with them. Exciting times are surely ahead for the Canadian scale-up, which will continue to drive their vision to save water, lower the bottom line, and raise the top line.