Oil company invests US$ 2.5 million in Saltworks desalination

Canadian oil company Cenovus Energy Inc is investing Can$ 2.5 million (US$ 2.56 million) in Vancouver-based desalination startup company Saltworks Technologies Inc.

Saltworks‘ Thermo-Ionic technology, first revealed at the Dubai congress of the International Desalination Association two years ago, removes salt from seawater and underground saline (brackish) water by harnessing low-temperature heat provided by solar energy or waste heat from power generation, which reduces the amount of mechanical and/or electrical energy required. Potential applications include processing water for industry, as well as producing drinking water for communities and irrigation water for agriculture.

“Water is a precious resource and its availability is a critical issue around the world,” said Judy Fairburn, executive vice-president of environment and strategic planning at Cenovus. “The ability to convert saline water into usable fresh water could change how we use water in our operations and provide communities with sustainable, safe sources of water.”

“Cenovus’s investment allows us to focus on delivering a robust product to the energy industry,” said Ben Sparrow, CEO at Saltworks. “We’ve recently cut the ribbon on our factory and membrane manufacturing facility, and we look forward to building low-energy plants for not only oil and gas applications, but customers around the world.”