Montana developer gains patent for ion-exchange desalination process

An ion-exchange process for removal of salts from wastewater has been issued with a patent for its developer Drake Water Technologies Inc (DWT), of Montana, USA.

US Patent 7,862,715 was issued in January 2011 for the device that makes use of a novel water treatment process previously patented in 2008 (US Patent 7,368,059), by inventor Ron Drake. Two additional patents are pending.

The patents describe a unique way to continuously use ion-exchange resin (IXR) to “dial-in” removal of salts in wastewater. The IXR removes contaminants necessary to meet water treatment standards while using less chemical to regenerate the continuously moving resin. This innovative feature results in significant cost-savings.

The Drake Process is mobile and modular, allowing deployment in remote locations and easily accommodates changing water throughput. The process may be powered by mobile generators or low-power renewable sources.

This energy-enabling technology has been successfully demonstrated in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming where large quantities of salt-laden water are produced during extraction of coal-bed methane or natural gas.

The desalination technology has broad application in the water treatment arena ranging from economical salt-reduction for irrigation and municipal water supplies, remediation of remote pits and ponds, plus resource recovery and numerous industrial separations. Other features and benefits are low capital and operating costs, very low power requirements, and minimum pretreatment requirements. Instead of producing wastes, the process generates small amounts of a saleable byproduct.

“We are very excited to have our second patent for the Drake Process,” says DWT President and CEO, Ron Drake. “Our new technology can be used to address a wide variety of water treatment needs in energy recovery, environmental protection, and low cost desalination for potable water supplies. While our patents protect our technology, they also give us the credibility to attract the capital we need to rapidly grow our business.”

DWT is also developing a process to remove salts from high TDS waters, such as those produced during shale play gas development.