Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘biofilm’

SpiroFlo looks at how environmental issues and personal health issues became linked.

Last week, I met with a company interested in partnering with SpiroFlo as part of their “energy oasis”—essentially redesigning how cities are built to make them more energy efficient. For SpiroFlo, we have two main applications in residential water:

  • Reducing water consumption and improving the quality of what is used (both for drinking water and shower quality); and
  • Reducing pressures required on water pumps, saving energy and reducing wear.

As we connected, the owner of this energy oasis company mentioned that he was midway through dropping 50+ pounds. At least part of the reason for this weight loss is because he works in clean tech and, in his words, “Environmentalists don’t like fat guys.”

Well, then…

fat squirrel

Thank you, “Animal Obesity” section of Wikimedia Commons; I couldn’t have written this article without you.

I wouldn’t say environmentalists specifically dislike overweight people, but I’ve acknowledged this connection before—that environmental and personal health issues are tied. Yet when I think about why this is the case, the logic doesn’t work. You could hypothecate that someone who doesn’t care about their own health won’t care about the health of the planet, but it’s just that—a theory. Besides, if your stance on the health of the earth can be tied to your personal health, why not make meaningful assumptions based off the health of a person’s car (how often they wash it, change their oil, etc.) or the health of their home (how often they clean, etc.). Granted, homes and cars aren’t living, but to connect personal and environmental “health,” you do have to stretch the term.

Yet the perceived connection between environmentalism and personal health is still there, regardless of whether I can logically separate the two. So I set out to see if there was a credible connection between physical health and environmental health.

As far as I can tell, there isn’t.

This then brings us back to one major explanation: Bias.

We all have bias, and the more accepted ones bubble to the surface.

There’s a theory that says fat and/or bald people can’t win the U.S. presidency in this visual era. That makes sense, as we all know a politician like Winston Churchill made great decisions because of his Adonis physique and flowing Fabio hair. But he’s a Brit, so bad example anyway.

Maybe we can turn to art to help point out these foolish fallacies. No wait, that won’t work. Last time we got “Shallow Hal.” If you’re fortunate enough to not remember “Shallow Hal,” well, your luck has run out. It was a 2001 romantic comedy where a fat guy named Hal (played by Jack Black) is only attracted to gorgeous women until real-life, big-toothed, self-help Guru Tony Robbins hypnotizes him into viewing women’s physical appearances based on the goodness of their hearts. (Yup, Tony Robbins hypnotizing people to see inner beauty… this is the actual plot line.) What you got next was Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit, so that she could play both the skinny inner beauty version of her character and the actual version of her character that was overweight, because skinny is automatically beautiful and fat is automatically ugly, see?

Also, according to this movie, everyone who is physically unattractive has a fat heart of gold. No pandering there, and it totally doesn’t sound hollow after making a slew of stereotypical fat jokes. Really, you can find far deeper criticism of “Shallow Hal,” but the biggest offense is that for all the social faux pas it offered, it was still a crap flick. You can get away with a whole lot more if you’re actually funny.

Regardless, the tie between how you take care of your own body and how you take care of the earth is there, even if it shouldn’t be. Thus you’ve got one more reason to make your New Year’s resolution to get to the gym. It’s not like having a sustainable, green technology will get you taken seriously by the clean tech crowd. Mother Nature cares about those abs.

*     *     *

Have a great New Year. We’ll see you in 2016.

Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for coal, biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

For more on how the SpiroFlo device takes biofilm from “too many to count” to statistically zero in just one pass, all with no chemicals and no additional power source/carbon footprint, see here.

SpiroFlo shares a conversation with a dentist office about biofilm (bacteria that grows wherever there is water—including in dental lines) and notes what treatments they’ve used in the past versus today.

Last time I shared some of the changing standards on biofilm treatment from the American Dental Association (ADA). Now knowing what I know about biofilm makes it even less pleasant to go to the dentist. It’s like a friend of mine who was a germaphobe before she became a microbiologist. Her researching just how wrong ‘the five-second rule’ with food is didn’t do her any favors. Thus, when I see areas roped off at the dentist or I’m sitting in the creepiest of their chairs (read: ALL OF THEM), I start asking questions.

So, yeah, pretty much every time I’m at the dentist I’m asking questions. The same thing happens when I visit doctors, but that’s a different train wreck.

Mmm, germilicious

This time though, I got an open hygienist and dentist, as this particular office recognizes that they have to stay ahead of the curve where biofilm is concerned. As mentioned previously, the standard chemical treatments of monochloramine don’t work, but as they’re largely the option for biofilm mitigation, many places stick with a “It doesn’t work, but keep doing it anyway” mantra. Instead, this dental office has daily treatment tabs for their water, and, once every few months, they use an overnight chemical treatment then flush their lines.

I think his shades have gotten bigger since this time…

Sterilex has a 100% kill rate for biofilm, but to get that title, they had to spend 10 years and millions of dollars with the EPA. (It’s part of the reason your bathroom cleaner claims it kills 99.9% of bacteria—because that last 0.1% claim is very costly to prove.) Thus Sterilex is expensive and the biofilm starts growing back right away, usually in the very same problem areas.

However, no matter how much this dentist office flushed their water lines after Sterilex, patients complained of a bitter aftertaste. As expensive as Sterilex is, I can’t see anyone who needs their water to taste right—i.e. dentists or drinking water companies—wanting to spend even more on treating the water again, especially as filters can be biofilm-prone areas (essentially perpetuating the costs and the cycle). In addition, Sterilex has a warning about not getting it in your eyes, so that’s not exactly encouraging when you’ve got a crap-aim hygienist hosing your pearly whites with reckless abandon. If nothing else, you better hang on to your Bono shades…

So this dentist, along with many others, uses a form of chlorhexidine instead. Chlorhexidine is a chemical antiseptic used as a rinse, a component of specialized mouthwash, and as a healing agent after dental surgery. Don’t use it too much though—prolonged use turns your teeth and your tongue brown.

Yummy.

However, some studies debate the efficacy of chlorhexidine, and the dentist I spoke with admits that, no matter what chemical treatment they’ve used, they’ve never gotten their bacteria count below 180 CFU (colony-forming units—a microbiological term for estimating bacterial numbers). While 180 may sound like a lot when you talking about bacteria, less than 500 CFU is the standard. Same goes for drinking water standards for acceptable bacteria count.

Bear in mind, this is a dentist office that takes biofilm treatment seriously, and there’s still so much further to go in terms of treatment.

As with any time I speak of biofilm, you have my pity if you’re visiting the dentist soon.

*     *     *

Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

Read Full Post »

For more on biofilm and its treatment see here.

SpiroFlo shares some recent updates from the American Dental Association (ADA) regarding their standards for the treatment of biofilm (water-borne bacteria).

Up until five years ago, biofilm—bacteria communities that grow wherever there is water—was the dirty little secret of the medical industry. However, these days I see a lot of articles acknowledging the tie between biofilm and staph infections. There are all kinds of other associated problems, too, including hip replacements and catheters.

Water municipalities and dentists, however, they’re still fairly quiet on their biofilm issues. Of course, if you do a little digging, you can find standards from the American Dental Association (ADA) on how much bacteria they’re allowed in their water lines (hint: it’s higher than zero, but below the standards for drinking water). This came after an otherwise healthy 82-year-old woman developed Legionnaires’ disease after a dental visit in 2012. While it sounds cool, Legionnaires’ disease can be acute or fatal as it’s essentially bacteria spreading and causing problems in your respiratory system. You can’t get it from other people either, so it was basically a gimme that the woman got it from dental surgery.

Thus the 2004 ADA standards on bacteria—from a time when hardly anyone spoke of biofilm—got a much-needed update.

By CDC/ William Cherry [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lung tissue during legionellosis / Legionnaires’ disease

Here it is in layman’s terms: When a doctor or dentist is cutting you open—be it your body or your gums—that part of you is exposed to bacteria. Then, when you get sown up, infection can be locked in to grow, often at a time when you’re immune system is down. The effects of this infection can be as minor as an upset stomach the day after or as major as some of the issues above.

Regardless, it’s not the kind of stuff you want to know about before your six-month check-up or a surgery, since, there’s nothing you can actually do to stop the infection. Freak out with hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes (and please videotape if you do) — it’ll make no difference.

Of course, I went to this dentist this week and started asking questions. More on that next time.

*     *     *

Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

Read Full Post »

cleantech open logoI’m pleased to announce that SpiroFlo qualified as a semi-finalist for the 2013 Cleantech Open (CTO) for our residential hot water savings and industrial biofilm removal applications.

If you’ve followed this blog—gnawing on every tasty word (and why wouldn’t you?)—you’d know that I had a lot to say, good and bad, about going through the 2012 CTO as Vortex Tools. A fair question then to ask is: Why are you doing it again?

There are two main reasons:

  1. The Cleantech Open receives criticism and makes changes: I’m not going to say that all the changes came from what I said—common problems become commonly shared complaints—but I’m as blunt in-person and I had opportunity to share my thoughts with the CTO planners. Regardless of how it happened, this year they’ve changed the overall judging scheme. I still think they’re going to be painfully shorthanded volunteer-wise, but I’m willing to wait and see.
  2. SpiroFlo is a better fit: Last year, we entered thinking that the CTO is a competition, and chose our more established, more successful green oil and gas company, Vortex Tools. While the CTO is a competition, it’s designed more to accelerate smaller companies, making SpiroFlo a better fit.

I highly doubt I’ll write as much on the CTO as I did before, but I do like that it keeps me apprised of innovation in the green sector, as well as the same old flawed thinking that doesn’t seem to budge. Odds are there will be a speaker who, A) believes nuclear energy and/or oil and gas can be done away with today; and B) we can do so because of what some non-American country (usually Japan or somewhere in Europe) is doing with wind and solar.

I’m a fan of some of these technologies—living in a dry state, seeing what Germany has done to implement green roofs makes me jealous—but there’s a misguided belief among some environmentalists that multi-year, best scenario projections will equate to reality. Even by favorable estimates, Japan’s current wind and solar use could offset maybe 10% of their nuclear energy use, and that’s before you get into the painful realities of what happens when you try to move large amounts of business from one entity to another.

However it goes, I’m sure I’ll annoy some people when I take to the microphone. I’m looking forward to it.

*     *     *

Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

Read Full Post »

Although it’ll be receiving a few more tweaks over the coming weeks, the new SpiroFlo.com is live! We’ve got sections on how the SpiroFlo device provides homes with a faster, better shower with green benefits as well as sections on how the SpiroFlo device removes biofilm in industrial applications. Be sure to come on by and see how shiny it is.

*     *     *

Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

Read Full Post »

SpiroFlo discusses the processes of New York’s new water-only café, Molecule, and how the co-owner came to believe in the value of purified water.

By Roger McLassus (Own work by author.) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsIf you were ever one to mock the notion of paying for bottled water, here’s your new target: Molecule in New York City.

Molecule is a water only café. They’re selling tap water for $2.50 for a 16 oz. to-go cup (like many green businesses, they prefer you bring your own reusable container). However, before you judge, this tap water is first sent through a $20,000 seven-stage filtration system—including U.V. light, ozone treatments and reverse osmosis—leaving the café looking more like a science lab with this giant machine.

To break it down, U.V. light kills bacteria; ozone treatments usually means O3—oxygenating the water in a way that soon dissolves, eating the bacteria as it goes; and reverse osmosis is essentially a number of chambers acting as a form of super-fine filtration. The problem with reverse osmosis is this: You don’t actually get rid of the bacteria and minerals; you essentially just concentrate them in one area (like when you sweep dirt into a corner). I’d be curious to know how Molecule deals with this problem and if their mega filtration system will ever become sentient and attack passersby with gloriously purified water (hey, I can dream).

Not convinced? Molecule can add in vitamins and supplements—including the Cordyceps mushroom, which grows in China, Nepal and Tibet—for $1 per serving. Combos are available for $2. Recommended blends from their site include:

  • Fountain of Youth: C, E, Green Tea, H/S/N
  • Glamour Shot: H/S/N and B comp; and
  • Night Vision: A, B comp

Maybe when the filtration machine goes sentient it’ll enable me to truly live forever, be ridiculously good looking, and have night vision (still dreaming…).

Still not convinced? Molecule is offering delivery—by bike, of course, not car/truck—to the East Village. A five-gallon container is $10.

While some praise Molecule, not all are convinced. New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo conducted a blind taste test and noted the following: “Guess what? Molecule was the only one I didn’t like. My notes say “tannic” — a term usually applied to an unpleasant astringency in too-young wine. All that purging yielded an unnatural-tasting result.”

It should be noted that he is a defender of the baseline purity of New York City tap water.

Part of the problem is that there are many less-than-reliable people who believe better filtrated water has healing properties, yet experience is powerful. According to a Huffington Post article, Molecule co-owner Adam Ruhf “knows first hand the healing properties of purified water, claiming that drinking it regularly helped eased the pain caused the pain brought on by two serious car accidents that left him without a spleen and a leg held together with metal pins.”

Is that legitimate and repeatable? There isn’t enough research to say, but there are a number of fringe books and beliefs prodding the issue.

Here’s what SpiroFlo has found: In industrial water purification applications, with water alone (meaning zero chemical treatments), the SpiroFlo device took biofilm (bacteria that grows from water) from “too many to count” to less than 100 parts per million (statistically zero). For more on biofilm and how SpiroFlo removes it from the pipeline wall, see here.

Although SpiroFlo has applications as a stage in purifying drinking water, since Molecule’s filtration system is already at seven-stages and $20,000, we don’t want to push that 16-oz. glass of purified water to $2.75. That’d be ridiculous.

*             *             *

Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

Read Full Post »

SpiroFlo covers why Sterilex is the only EPA-approved chemical solution to eliminate biofilm.

You've got to earn your 100% kill rate

Back in the Biofilm 101 post, I mentioned that even though the government doesn’t endorse products, somehow Sterilex is the only EPA-approved chemical solution for eliminating biofilm. Although Sterilex is a good (albeit expensive) chemical solution for biofilm treatment, I thought it was an annoying instance of the government not following their own rules, but after chatting with Sterilex, it turns out these cries of government conspiracy need to go on mute.

Basically, when any chemical claims to completely kill any pathogen (or germ) in any application, it has to be approved by the EPA. So in the case of Sterilex claiming to completely eliminate biofilm, they had to go through a stringent process to get that EPA approval. Guess how long that approval process took?

10 years.

So one of the main reasons why Sterilex is the only EPA-approved chemical for completely removing biofilm is because no one else, thus far, can be bothered to go through that marathon process. Even though I was happy when SpiroFlo received the innovative funding for energy efficiency (IFEE) grant from the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), this reminds me of why we don’t work with the government more often.

Interestingly enough, the EPA does not regulate devices that remove pathogens, only chemicals. This means that even though independent testing from a large multi-national has shown that the SpiroFlo device reduces the biofilm from “too many to count” to less than 100 parts per million (read: statistically zero), we can’t ever get that EPA approval. Then again, considering we’d likely have to wait until the end of 2021, I think I’m okay with that. In the mean time, SpiroFlo is exploring use in conjunction with Sterilex (and other chemicals) as the device helps keep the chemicals suspended for longer, thereby improving their efficiency, all while keeping the biofilm counts lower between treatments.

Even if we were eligible for EPA approval, I think I’d just say we’re 99.99% effective at removing biofilm and hope that people can round up.

***

Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »