Siemens Water Technologies and Texas A&M AgriLife Research have agreed to continue to develop and commercialize a chemical-based technology that the organizations say will more efficiently and cost-effectively remove heavy metals from water and wastewater at power utility, mining, refinery and remediation sites.
In a single process unaffected by temperature or pH-levels, the technology can remove selenium, mercury, zinc, copper, chromium and other heavy metals as well as metalloids to meet National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) limits.
Siemens says the commercialized system is being designed to occupy a smaller footprint than current remediation treatment systems to reduce capital expense and to operate more efficiently in a wider range of environments.
The technology is based on an activated iron process for the removal of contaminants from water and wastewater developed by Dr. Yongheng Huang, associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering at Texas A&M University, who recently received the 2013 Rudolfs industrial waste management medal by the Water Environmental Federation at its Technical Exhibition and Conference. Huang is also an AgriLife Research scientist.
US demand for water treatment chemicals will rise 3.2 percent per year to reach $6.7 billion in 2017, an increase driven by growth in the oil, gas and mining industries and a rebound in manufacturing production, according to a study published earlier this month by the Freedonia Group. The study, Water Treatment Chemicals, predicts demand will increase for more efficient and less hazardous chemicals, which tend to be more expensive than conventional products.
A different study, also by the Freedonia Group, projects the US water treatment equipment market will grow 5.9 percent a year to reach $13 billion in 2017, gains largely driven by concerns over the health risks and environmental impacts of biological contaminants, chemicals and disinfection byproducts in supply water and wastewater. The Water Treatment Equipment study, published in July, says more stringent manufacturing requirements in process water also will spur demand.