New partnership aims to clean up

Louise Smyth

Directa Plus has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Sartec to jointly develop a commercial-scale industrial system, based on the company’s Grafysorber product, for treating oil-contaminated water in the oil & gas industry. 

The agreement follows initial joint research over the last eight months (the proof-of-concept phase) during which extensive tests on the Grafysorber product as well as the effectiveness of the continuous process equipment were successfully carried out. The ongoing tests continue to demonstrate Grafysorber’s ability to outperform existing technologies in treating oil-contaminated water. In the second quarter of 2018, Sartec will commence building an industrial Pilot Plant, with Directa Plus providing support and expertise regarding Grafysorber. 

The pilot plant will be capable of treating up to 500 cubic metres per day of water and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. In conjunction with this, both parties will work together to generate industrial-scale demand by leveraging the global footprint of the Sartec sales force and commercial opportunities activated by Directa Plus. Target customers include oil companies with significant oil production capabilities and oil refineries as well as organisations involved in emergency environmental remediation due to an oil spill. In addition, as both parties test the commercial viability of the process through the pilot plant, the agreement contains provisions for exploring options for establishing an operational structure to commercialise the process going forward. 

Grafysorber is a 2D material in a 3D structure, made by graphene sheets, which acts as a sponge to capture the hydrocarbons in contaminated water. Its unique oil adsorption capacity has been substantiated through extensive testing and commercial trials over the last three years in Italy, Romania and Nigeria. The data collected has demonstrated Grafysorber to be at least five times more effective than the technologies presently used for water decontamination, adsorbing more than 100 times its own weight of oily pollutant. The absorbed oil can be easily recovered to be recycled or disposed of separately. 

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