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Posts Tagged ‘Industrial’

Vortex Tools looks at a recent infographic release from the White House on the Energy Security Trust and explains why it makes a flawed boast.

So the White House recently released this infographic explaining the perks of the Energy Security Trust:

wh_2013_energy_trust_large

There’s a lot that sounds good here—no extra costs, more clean energy, and supporting American jobs, research and innovation—but there’s an obvious burning question that this style of marketing often misses: If this $2 billion revenue is from profitable oil and gas companies, and it’s used to “shift our vehicles off oil for good,” why would the oil and gas industry support it? Natural gas isn’t enough (as an industry that has yet to recover), and anyone in oil and gas just assumes it’d be next on the chopping block anyway.

If I looked at Bill Gates and said, “I want to take some of your profits and use them to invest in companies that will shift computer use away from PCs for good” I’d expect him to look at me and say, “Um… no.” So when I see this type of stick it to ‘em marketing, I just assume that there’s something dishonest going on. While I’ve run across some in-depth rebuttals already, the short version is this:

  • The oil and gas industry is only giving what they have to, by royalties and fees paid to the government for using federal land.
  • While there is no increase in the budget for this program, these funds could be used to pay down the deficit.
  • These types of subsidies already exist… and many would argue that they already don’t work. I spoke to a guy who got out of solar recently. He said, “We’re all playing a game of last man standing, waiting for the subsidies to stop so that we can cash in after many solar companies crash. The only way to make money as a small, innovative company is to get acquired by the big energy companies, because they’re the ones with the funds to last to the end.” Who are the big energy companies? They’re the ones who’re tied to the oil and gas industry, either directly or indirectly, so you’re just pouring in money to delay the inevitable and still have the guys you don’t like make a profit (if that’s your bent).
  • While there’s duplicity for subsidies, not surprisingly, none of the Energy Security Trust is going towards oil and gas expansion in the U.S.

Of course I hope that the Energy Security Trust increases jobs, innovation and clean energy, but when I see flawed tactics covered by iffy marketing, I’m not expecting much.

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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).

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SpiroFlo shares a British infographic on business electricity costs and ramifications.

For all that’s legitimate in this infographic, I have to pick on one statement: “Enough sunlight falls on the earth in one hour to power the entire world for a year!”

This is possible… if we could actually develop a solar panel that could capture, store and use that much energy. We’d also have to cover the whole earth in this amazing, not-yet-invented solar panel. This means no more oceans, no more landscapes. As for the Egyptian pyramids? Cover them with solar panels. The Statue of Liberty? Solar panel her (and replace that flame while you’re at it). The Great Wall of China, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Roman Coliseum? Panels, panels, panels!

While we’re at it, we might as well cover ourselves in full body solar panel outfits. If nothing else, we’ll be one step closer to looking like a Tron movie. In the meantime, it’s a good reminder of why solar could be so big:

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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).

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Vortex Tools shares an image of the Bakken oilfield from space.

When it comes to American oil and gas fields, the Bakken in North Dakota is booming with activity. However, as regulations to ban flaring (burning) of gas won’t be made until 2015, currently 30% of all natural gas in the Bakken field is burned. This visual from NASA shows how the Bakken is lit up like a city:

Ceres_logo_green_horizontal

As the Vortex tools capture polluting vapors (allowing oil and gas producers to avoid fines) and recover a greater amount of natural gas liquids, North Dakota—with its high liquids rate in their natural gas—benefits greatly from the Vortex, getting the oil vapor values from the natural gas as opposed to burning those values to atmosphere.

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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 »

Vortex Tools shares a video of a natural gas flare in North Dakota.

One of our key U.S. oil & gas markets is the Bakken field in North Dakota where, currently, they’re burning off (or flaring) 30% of their natural gas. In the aftermath of the 2012 election, flaring will be regulated down in the upcoming years. As Vortex Tools has a solution that increases and captures the natural gas liquids energy entrained in the gas, the flare burns smaller and cleaner, allowing oil & gas producers to increase their profits while remaining in compliance with environmental regulations.

This brief video, taken by one of our partners in North Dakota, captures the jet engine sound coming from the flare (without Vortex):

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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 »

Ecotechnology, Ltd. (Ecotech Systems) reports on a generator that can convert urine to electricity.

By Turbotorque (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsWhile I don’t mean to make a lot of Ecotech posts about bodily functions (see here, here and here), as the non-thermal drying of biosolids is one of our key markets, that type of green slant gets placed in this area.

Also, while I still hope that one day I’ll be able to pee out a valuable fuel—minus the unfortunate side effects of a burning sensation and the likelihood of setting a toilet on fire once every three months—someone’s out there bridging the gap:

Today’s step of progress: Four African high school girls have developed a generator that turns a liter of urine into six hours of electricity.

Technology journalist Emil Protalinski broke down the process (source):

  • Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea into nitrogen, water, and hydrogen.
  • The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder.
  • The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
  • This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.

When asked for comment by NBC News, Gerardine Botte, the chemical engineer who invented the process, stated, “What these kids are doing is taking urea electrolysis and making hydrogen and then using that hydrogen to make electricity.” Although Botte said that the project is “empowering” for the students, she also swatted down some of the fanaticism over the project, stating, “It is a high school project, so don’t take it (so seriously).”

That’s the thing: Often times the green community is willing to excessively root for something before it’s had any real mass implementation. Throw in a couple of underdog factors like youth and it coming from a third world country—or really from anyone save big bad corporations in the western world—and some will cheer it more. Additionally, the details are a little slim as to what exactly gets fueled for six hours.

Here’s what we do know: Like biosolids, this human waste is a worldwide problem. Unlike biosolids, it gets somewhat of a free pass on the yuck factor. Regardless, this is a creative solution that—barring the impending doom of the apocalypse—will have raw material available. The biggest gimme is the wastewater treatment plants themselves. They’re already getting too much fuel delivered to them already; they should convert it to power their own facility.

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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 looks at Sweden’s success in recycling and how that success has created a shortfall of trash for burnable waste.

Sweden: Land of neutral diplomacy, equal pay, and the top recyclers on earth (though it turns out that bit about them all being blonde haired and blue eyed is a myth).

While the rest of Europe wastes an average of 38% of their household trash in landfills, Sweden wastes only 4%, instead recycling or composting most of it. When that doesn’t happen, they also have high standards for their Waste-to-Energy program, where they burn trash to provide 20% of their district heating and electricity to 250,000 homes.

There’s just one problem: Sweden ran out of trash.

Sure, people are throwing things away every day, but Sweden is far enough behind that they’re importing trash from other countries. They’re looking for 800,000 tons a year from Europe. Right now, most of that comes from Norway; though Sweden is already eyeballing glorious trash piles in Bulgaria, Italy and Romania.

As much as I’d like to set up a catapult to fling trash at other countries, there are far more logical rules and tradeoffs:

  • For Norway, exporting their excess trash is cheaper than burning it (and landills are running out of space).
  • For Sweden, they get to return the toxic waste ashes (and the harder-to-treat-yet-easy-to-pollute dioxins) to Norway, thereby remaining all the more sparkly and clean.

Dioxins are nasty business (Agent Orange contained dioxins). Highly toxic, they’re established as a carcinogen that can mess with tooth and sexual development.

Yeah, not so sure if that trade is so great now…

However, some have already figured out that as the world continues to improve its recycling, the laws of supply and demand could push the value of trash up:

“Earlier this year, Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, said that in the future, waste will be valued even more. ‘Maybe you could sell your waste because there will be a shortage of resources within the world,’ Ostlund said.”

As of 2010, the U.S. only recycled 34.1% of its trash. I’ll see you at the catapult.

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SpiroFlo wishes you all a happy Thanksgiving.

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 »

Vortex Tools qualified as a semifinalist in the Cleantech Open—a global competition to accelerate green technologies—for their application in turning harmful CO2 waste from oil and gas wells into recovered high-value energy. This series of blogs was designed to chronicle our experience going through the 2012 Cleantech Open as a reference point for future applicants. Every post — as well as the top five best and worst things the Cleantech Open has to offer — is listed below.

After five months and now 10 posts on the Cleantech Open (or clean tech open if the search engines are slacking), it’s time I get back to things that are ongoing, like my disdain for Captain Planet. Before I go, however, here’s a post of the top five best and worst parts of the Cleantech Open, as well as every post of what to expect from each section of this green business accelerator:

Top Five Best Things in the Cleantech Open

  1. You get your money’s worth: Despite the initial cost, with the extensive networking, volunteer services, and yes, free swag, you’ll get more value than what you put in. Based on time input, though, that’s a whole other angle. For more on this, see posts I and III below.
  2. Rapid education for new small business people: If you’ve just started a company or you just have an idea, the Cleantech Open is for you. Established companies should stay away. For more on this, see post III, IV and VII below.
  3. Excellent business clinics: Currently these are only in the Rocky Mountain region, but with the caliber of support and the expertise of the specialists, they should be expanded to every region. For more on this, see post IV below.
  4. Cleantech Open volunteers genuinely want to help every team succeed in business: With the networking alone, you’ll start to connect to some of the right people (though networking is always a numbers game and you never know its true value until later). More than that, however, Cleantech Open volunteers want to see innovation succeed. For more on this, see post II below.
  5. Win or lose, your company messaging will improve: Whether it’s your elevator pitch, legal needs, target market or customer connections, the Cleantech Open will point you in the right direction. For more on this, see posts III, IV and V below.

Top Five Worst Things in the Cleantech Open

  1. Very disorganized; needs more staff support: This was the true constant in the Cleantech Open. If they want to grow, they need to invest in the proper infrastructure, but those costs could well change its value. For more on this, see posts I, II, IV and VI below.
  2. Not all regions and personnel are created equal: Whether it’s the amount of finalists, the engagement of personnel, or what state you’re in (in proximity to where the regional events are held), your experience can vary. Call up past semifinalists in your state and check. For more on this, see post III below.
  3. The worksheets are frustrating and have little value (especially to an established company): Whether it’s meaningless deadlines, shifting requirements, or the sheer amount of busy work (especially with the webinars) for a product that doesn’t have that much value in the Cleantech Open or the business world, the worksheets — at least with their current form and emphasis — are a waste of time and effort. Additionally, much of the education materials throughout default to the lowest common denominator, meaning the more basic info you know, the less you learn. For more on this, see posts IV and V below.
  4. Some judges will continually miss the value of your product: People mess up and have biases, and since the judges in the Cleantech Open are no different, it doesn’t matter what you say, some will miss or misconstrue what you present (even if those worksheets were supposed to help ease that problem). This can happen as early as the application phase or as late as final judging, but it will happen. For more on this, see posts I, VI and VII below.
  5. Final judging bias overrules overall competition effort: Although the Cleantech Open says overall competition participation is important, it feels more like you can shrug off the first 80% of the competition and hope to hit the judges niche at the end. Rather than sending on the best teams, it feels like they send on the teams that safely fit the Cleantech Open mold. For more on this, see posts VI and VII below.

Process Posts: What to Expect from the…

I. Application

II. National Conference

III. Regional Academy

IV. Webinars (part one) and business clinics

V. Webinars (part two), worksheets and mock judging

VI. Final judging and the awards ceremony

VII. Final thoughts on the Cleantech Open

Misc. Posts on the Cleantech Open

VIII. Five insights to the current state of green energy in the U.S.

IX. Vortex Tools clip from the Cleantech Open

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If you have any questions or comments, please email me at blog (at) spiroflo (dot) com

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 »

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