In 2011, Lithium Exploration Group invested in the development of an Ultrasonic Technology to assist in separating suspended solids from brine water. The technology is based around a transportable ultra-sound reactor using patented technology.
Successful testing in the first quarter of 2014 has enabled Lithium Exploration Group to bring this technology to Western Canada for numerous applications in the oil & gas and mining industries. This technology is viewed as a game-changer in its ability to provide lower cost, low energy solutions to many pre-existing processes within these industries.
The Ultrasonic Generator (single base unit) can desalinate water at a rate of 25-35 cubic meters per hour. The two discharge streams are distilled water and marketable minerals (flow rates will vary depending on the salinity level of the input stream).
The Ultrasonic Generator also has the ability to upgrade crude oil. A single Ultrasonic Generator can upgrade crude oil into high quality, high value light petroleum products. Flow rates for crude oil (single base unit) are 25 tons per day (approximately 150 barrels of oil per day).
General Advantages of the Ultrasonic Generator Include:
• Greatly reduced capital cost. Conventional treatment methods (such as heated boilers, filtration systems such as reverse osmosis, ion exchange) are all extremely capital intensive as is conventional crude oil upgrading. The Ultrasonic Generator is able to manage these processes at a significant discount to comparable technology costs.
• Small & scalable footprint. The unit has a small and its design allows it to be tailor-scaled for different sized applications as well, therefore allowing greater customization and operational flexibility.
• Greatly minimized energy input. The Ultrasonic Generator holds a tremendous advantage over all conventional comparable technologies, regardless of application. The single unit, comprised of a patented ultrasound reactor used in conjunction with the cavitation process, allows for previously unobtainable energy savings.
• Versatility and Ease of Transport. The unit can be easily transported due to its small footprint and can be repositioned accordingly to meet changing business needs (eg. repositioned to another battery or location).
Hydrocarbon Upgrading Applications
The Ultrasonic Generator’s ability to upgrade heavier crude into lighter petroleum products on-site offers many cost saving and revenue-boosting opportunities for oil & gas producers.
• Crude Oil Treating & Upgrading. Existing treaters and separators knock out water and most solids. However, they cannot improve the quality (eg. API) of crude oil and cannot reduce H2S content.
Conventional upgraders are both extremely capital intensive and based upon a principle of large scale, whereas the Ultrasonic Technology can upgrade crude oil at a fraction of the capital cost and is ideal for use within smaller fields or batteries. The units are also designed to be scalable to requirements, allowing for tailored solutions for specific oilfield volume upgrading requirements.
Furthermore, this technology can be applied to all types of crude typically produced in Western Canada – heavy, medium, and light oil. Heavier crude oil is upgraded on-site into lighter petroleum products, resulting in lower processing costs and higher product revenues.
The Ultrasonic Technology is also valuable from a risk management perspective. The ability to ship only lighter petroleum products will remove the pricing risk posed by product grade related differentials; as the resulting lighter products will be similar in quality as world recognized benchmarks such as WTI, only pricing differential risk due to originating shipping location (transportation/pipeline congestion) will exist.
• Oilfield Waste Management Facilities. The Ultrasonic Technology can be used in conjunction with oilfield waste management facilities, including disposal wells, to upgrade skim oil. This again results in higher revenues and lower processing costs for the facility.
• Product Transportation Optimization. Transportation can be one of the costliest components of a producing company’s operations, especially in the case of heavier crude oil. Pipeline capacity and availability is always keyed towards giving priority to lighter petroleum products. The Ultrasonic Generator’s ability to upgrade on-site allows producers to reduce their transportation costs since the resulting lighter products will almost invariably be closer to accepting infrastructure.
• Possible Light Product Capabilities. The Ultrasonic Generator offers the possibility to upgrade crude oil on-site into useable fuel-grade products. This can serve to further reduce a producer’s operating costs, especially in remote locations where considerable transportation costs may be associated with procuring such products.
Water Treatment Applications
The Ultrasonic Generator’s by-products are clean water (or steam) and marketable minerals, all of which can contribute valuable revenue streams. Various tailored fluids can also be synthesized for use in the oil and gas industry.
• Water Treatment & Recycling. Saline water resulting from industrial mining (including oil sands) can be treated and recycled into clean water to be re-used in various plant processes. Traditional processes require much larger footprints, capital costs, and energy usage.
• Water Sales & Purification. The clean water by-product is suitable as a saleable commodity. In the case that the Ultrasonic Generator is being used at a remote location where transport costs could make any clean water sales uneconomic, the purified clean water can be safely returned to the environment.
• SAGD. Steam is a by-product of any desalinization process using the Ultrasonic Technology and can therefore be used in conjunction with a SAGD process in the oil sands. The key advantage offered by this technology over conventional steam generation processes is the extremely low energy input needed to generate required quantities of steam.
• Power Generation. The steam by-product created by the Ultrasonic Generator can also be used to generate electricity by propelling steam turbines. Once again, low energy input and scalability are significant advantages over any existing technologies on the market.
• Recovery of Marketable Minerals. Dissolved minerals such as Li, CaCl, KCl, MgCl, NaCl, I, and Br can be successfully separated from brine or other solutions using the Ultrasonic Technology.
• Tailored Fluids. Numerous types of fluids can be synthesized using the Ultrasonic Technology, including those required for voidage, formation stabilization, water flood, EOR, fracking, and other special applications.