KmX Tested Membrane Technology in Sarnia 2012-2016
Sarnia Observer (September 16, 2016) -- A wastewater treatment technology company, one of the first to set up a pilot plant at the Western University Research Park in Sarnia-Lambton, is taking next steps to commercialization, but outside the city.
KmX, which uses membrane technology to treat and make useable water that’s been contaminated because of mining, oil and gas extraction and other industrial processes, left the Sarnia-Lambton area this summer, said the Park’s Tom Strifler.
Its pilot plant had been in Sarnia since 2012.
"We lost a tenant," Strifler said. "But for us, that's success if they can take the work they've done here and take it to the field for commercialization."
"That's basically why we're here. That's a success story from our perspective."
KmX, an Oakville-based company has moved its membrane technology – which permeates water vapour through a wall with microscopic pores as a lower-energy alternative to distillation and evaporators – to Ottawa and Edmonton.
"It’s largely because we're trying to get closer to the industry," said Harvey Vowels, new business development manager with the company.
In Ottawa, that means working with Natural Resources Canada for treating mining wastewater, he said.
In Edmonton, KmX is working with contaminated water from the oil sands industry at an Alberta Innovates Technology Futures pilot facility.
KmX also recently tested fracking water purification in Sarnia, and the technology is promising, Vowels said.
"We're able to recover 80 to 90 per cent of the water from all these applications and the water is essentially distilled water."
Although KmX is physically uprooting from Sarnia, it’s keeping ties with Lambton College, with which KmX has a very strong relationship, Vowels said.
College students helped run the pilot plant – which initially was designed to produce biofuels – and also provided technology for control systems, he said.
"They're still working with us on the Ottawa project and the Edmonton project," he said.
It's unclear if the technology, when and if it hits the open market, will end up at Sarnia plants, he said, as there wasn't "much pull" from local industrial facilities while KmX was in the area.
But it could be used in just about any setting, he said, noting treating wastewater dramatically cuts down companies' disposal costs.
"Any company that has a wastewater stream that is contaminated, we can apply our membrane," he said.
Having the space at the Research Park and forging the connection with Lambton College were hallmarks of KmX's time in Sarnia, Vowels said.
"We've had a good experience there."
- Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer