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SBIR Phase II: Advancing a Novel Low-voltage Electric Arc Method to Oxidize Organic Material in Contaminated Water

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1256582
Agency Tracking Number: 1256582
Amount: $401,026.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2012
Award Year: 2013
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2013-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2015-07-31
Small Business Information
3185 Rampart Rd 0922 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-0922
United States
DUNS: 828710215
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Justin Bzdek
 (970) 797-2543
Business Contact
 Justin Bzdek
Phone: (970) 797-2543
Research Institution

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will support the final development and commercialization of Symbios Technologies plasma treatment system to allow produced water in the oil and gas industry to be effectively treated, thereby allowing its safe discharge to surface waters or recycling to stimulate production in new wells, rather than being disposed of in injection wells. Produced water is the water brought to the surface, with or without hydraulic fracturing, along with the intended fuel products during extraction of oil, gas, and coal bed methane from formations underground. In general, produced water is contaminated with hydrocarbons, salts, and harmful microorganisms, meaning that it must be treated before it can be discharged or reused for agriculture and other purposes. This is an important environmental, public safety, and economic problem in the US. Research conducted during this project will be used to evaluate reactor improvements including process sensors and control systems, electrode geometries and surface coatings, degradation of contaminants in produced water, field testing, and techno-economic modeling. The anticipated technical results are that the Symbios plasma system will degrade hydrocarbon contaminants and kill microorganisms in frac flowback or produced water, leaving the waters suitable for safe reuse or discharge. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is that it will facilitate cleanup and reuse of a critical resource, water, in the oil and gas production industry, with crucial societal benefits for protecting the environment, guarding human safety, and keeping domestic energy costs down. The proposed technology is based on an innovative, low-voltage plasma discharge that creates powerful oxidizing species for destroying biological and chemical contaminants in produced water. Symbios Technologies has developed relationships and executed agreements with key companies in the produced water treatment field, which have identified numerous near-term business opportunities and provided crucial insights into preparing the technology for commercial success during Phase II. The customer-centered emphasis on solving water contamination problems in the oil and gas industry, which was estimated to have a global market size of $45 billion in 2010, will result in a high likelihood for commercial success. The Phase II R & D plan will enhance scientific and technical understanding as well as commercial impact by addressing reactor improvements pertaining to corrosion resistance and automated operation for a market-ready system, treatment of microbial and organic contaminants in produced water, on- site testing, and demonstration of economic competitiveness of the developed system.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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