B.C.’s Saltworks Technologies: Water Solutions from Mining to Space

B.C. is home to a company with the answer to industry’s most challenging waste-water disposal needs.

B.C.’s Saltworks Technologies’ solutions for waste waters, oil & gas-produced waters, landfill leachate, shale fracking water, mine mineral and acid rock run off, and industrial brines have caught the interest of companies around the world, leading to pilot projects worldwide, a recent full-scale installation at a landfill in the USA, and even a plant for NASA with the intent of future use onboard the International Space Station.

Since 2008, Saltworks has grown from an invention in an East Vancouver apartment to a company of over 50 employees developing systems that can produce fresh water from highly contaminated industrial waste waters.

Saltworks focuses on two products.  One, the SaltMaker, squeezes every last drop of water out from highly impaired waste waters, leaving only solid impurities behind. In many situations, the plant is powered by waste heat energy, so two waste products enter, and freshwater and solid waste emerge. As a result, the water can be reused or returned to the environment and the contaminant volume is reduced to a landfillable solid. The second product line, ElectroChem, manipulates the periodic table of elements through Saltworks’ advanced selective membranes made right here in B.C.

Saltworks’ ElectroChem system represents a breakthrough for many industrial players. It can recover valuable ions or permanently change water chemistry from a troublesome form into one that can be processed by simple downstream systems. The system lowers the cost of treating complex waters today, and tomorrow may result in a more efficient pathway to refine and concentrate lithium for battery production.

“We are seen as a world leader when it comes to treating difficult waste waters and advanced separations and recoveries,” said Mitchell Frank, manager of business development & marketing at Saltworks.

Their ground-breaking desalination and electrochemical technologies can treat the world’s toughest saline waste waters or brines from other water treatment plants, maximizing freshwater recovery and minimizing waste.

“We’ve received critical B.C. government support, created highvalue jobs, and brought $20 million of outside cleantech investment into B.C. This enabled us to develop two manufacturing facilities and export worldwide, all while also solving major problems within B.C.,” said Frank.