CREATIVE Water Technologies (CWT) has developed innovative technology that provides cooling using wastewater or alternatively recovers clean water from wastewater. CWT’s GENESIS Series has major implications for recovery of this valuable resource in a range of applications, while also recovering contaminants.

The unique technology has been proven in industries such as agriculture, textiles, F&B, petroleum and oil, and the technology is also a perfect fit for mining.

CWT chairman Stephen Shelley says the technology effectively caters for two basic mining requirements – water and cooling. “It turns a problematic area, wastewater, into a valuable resource in a very cost effective process with our clients having a payback period of between three months and 2.5 years.”

CWT, which was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Melbourne, is expanding operations in Sydney and across Australia.

The technology

The primary purpose of CWT’s technology is to recover clean water from wastewater but the GENESIS Series also reduces wastewater volumes and recovers contaminants. Suspended solids are typically reduced by more than 99% as are dissolved solids; oils and greases; and ammonia or similar target vapours.

The heat pump provides high efficiency evaporation while optional extras can provide a high efficiency heat exchange system; solids concentration and drying system; ammonia scrubbing system; oil recovery system; waste heat utilisation system; and distillate polishing system.

The benefits:

  • Recover up to 97% of water content as distilled water;
  • Extract and separate contaminants for reuse, resale or clean disposal;
  • Superior quality and efficiency to comparable technologies;
  • Use of low temperatures;
  • Absence of membranes enabling processing of difficult contaminants;
  • Primarily plastic composition minimises maintenance and corrosion;
  • Tailored design for customer’s facility and application; and
  • Scalable arrays producing min 10kL/day up to any capacity;

The GENESIS Series comprises three appliances, each delivering a powerful solution for a different set of parameters – GENESIS WRX for maximum water recovery; GENESIS CSX as an alternative cooling system where waste heat is available for wastewater processing; and GENESIS ESX for wastewater processing where waste heat is not available.

Stephen Shelley says, “The patented part of our technology is the fact that we can create a weather system – we can cause it to rain or can reject moisture making it relatively dry. We can steal energy from the outside air that is coming in because humidity is an energy source. If we condense that it provides energy that we didn’t put in ourselves.”

Mining applications

The technology is an efficient method of not only treating wastewater but also using it to provide cooling. Conventional cooling towers take in clean water to reject heat and as a by-product produce dirty, blow-down water. “Our cooling systems take in wastewater to reject heat and as a by-product produce clean, distilled water. It is quite a different process but is 20% more effective in heat rejection for the same amount of water consumed.”

CWT’s technology can use really dirty water. “What we originally developed,” Stephen Shelley says, “was an industrial wastewater treatment system with the notion of processing wastewater to recover as much clean water as possible. At that stage the technology was not considered a priority because although water was fairly scarce, it was still relatively cheap, and recovering it was not a value proposition. It is different today with water more valuable and some mining companies paying commercial rates for the water they need.

“Over the years we have generated a number of incarnations of the original technology and the latest has three products – CSX, ESX and WRX.

“GENESIS CSX uses waste water to deliver cooling or waste heat to reduce wastewater volumes. In either mode, up to 25% to 30% of water processed can be returned as distilled water. Electrical power consumption per tonne of water evaporated is about 15kW hours. This is very competitive compared to current evaporators which also have to be chemically cleaned because they basically boil water on hot metal surfaces. Our technology doesn’t boil water, has no hot metal surfaces and is not a pressure vessel. We use humidification and dehumidification techniques to get air to act as a sponge to absorb water.

“The CSX has a large range of capacity – it can consume between 10 and 40 tonnes of wastewater a day depending on operating temperatures. Where the air is drier we humidify it while where it is more humid we dehumidify it. Cooling capacity is directly proportional to water consumption - the more water consumed, the more powerful the cooling capacity.

“The ESX is basically a CSX cooling system coupled with a refrigeration plant whose sole purpose is to produce heat that can be rejected using the wastewater. If you translate that into a mining application where you have bore water, concentrate from reverse osmosis plants, access to river water or saltwater of questionable quality, you don’t have to clean the water and then only recover a small part of it for use in conventional cooling towers, you can use whatever water you have, even blow-down water from existing cooling towers.

“All water pulled from a mine or sourced from various site operations can be used productively for cooling or other purposes with clean, distilled water a by-product.

“Conventional technologies are designed and set up for a particular quality of input water and variations in quality can have a negative effect on the facility but the CWT technology couldn’t care less what you feed it – it just eats water.”

The WRX technology is the most complex and recovers up to 97% of water content as clean, distilled water without filters, membranes or reverse osmosis. It also recovers contaminants which can then become a resource when separated.

“All mines are different and we tailor solutions to match the unique circumstances, working closely with clients to ensure they get maximum benefits with minimal payback,” Stephen Shelley adds.

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