Wastewater treatment innovation goes commercial

A wastewater treatment technology using granular activated carbon (GAC) in a modified membrane bioreactor (MBR) was launched by Saudi Aramco on 1 September 2010.

Originally developed by Saudi Aramco environmental experts, who then teamed with Siemens Water Technologies, the product, which inexpensively treats oily or industrial wastewater, is being commercialized as EcoRightTM MBR. Five patents have been submitted on the idea and associated technologies.

The EcoRight process achieves a high chemical-oxygen-demand removal efficiency with almost no additional operating or capital costs.

In areas where water is scarce, the system allows for the inexpensive reuse of wastewater, thus conserving groundwater. In areas where discharges must meet strict environmental requirements, the system can provide the treatment necessary for compliance.

Since it provides the same removal capacity as much more energy-intensive technologies, it qualifies as a green technology and can earn CO2 reduction credits. The license granted to Siemens through Aramco Overseas Co BV provides for royalty payments for sales and commits Siemens to develop Saudi manufacturing capabilities.

Siemens has identified a number of potential uses and anticipates a five-year market for sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars with potential sales all over the world.

EcoRight is being pilot tested at Ras Tanura Refinery as a potential replacement for its waste injection well. It is part of a proposed build, own and operate proposal for the Jiddah Refinery Phase II Wastewater Treatment Upgrade Project.