Recovering oil and precious metals from wastewater creates new revenue streams

Sponsored by

 

BOSTON, MA, June 23, 2014 -- According to Lux Research, recovery of resources from wastewater streams is becoming increasingly feasible -- especially oil, precious metals and industrial fats, oils and greases (FOG) -- with rising commodity prices.

Over the past decade, crude oil prices have risen nearly three-fold while the value of precious metals has soared over 250 percent, making recovery of these commodities attractive. Growing demand for biodiesel amid a restricted supply of feedstocks drives recovery of industrial FOG. However, current economics don't favor lithium and phosphate recovery.

"Many current wastewater streams contain resources worth billions of dollars of lost product and lost opportunity," said Tess Murray, research associate and author of the report titled, "Recovering Valuable Resources from Wastewater." Further, "As the value of resources rises, recovery technologies are beginning to make sense for even parts-per-million traces of materials such as precious metals and oil," she added.

Lux Research analysts evaluated the emerging landscape of recovery technologies and found that:

  • Spiraling oil price drives recovery. Oil prices over $100/bbl help make recovery of oil from wastewater streams viable. Drillers using new techniques, like hydraulic fracturing (fracking), have not caught up to established best practices for oil recovery, and commonly lose 6 to 10 percent of their extraction via wastewater. An investment of up to $7 million in recovery for these drillers pays for itself in the very first year of operation.
  • Soaring use of biodiesel makes FOG recovery attractive. Skyrocketing biodiesel production -- from 14 million gallons in 2003 to 17.1 billion gallons globally in 2013 -- is the chief driver of FOG recovery. Promising technologies include new methods to recycle FOG-water mixtures and processes to convert recovered FOG into animal food, soaps, or other inedible products.
  • Regulation can aid unviable segments. Regulation can enhance recovery technologies by providing support to segments that are currently economically unviable. The "zero discharge" policies of Norway, for example, brought about recovery of virtually all oil from water used in drilling. Argentina and Chile are pursuing similar methods in mining, aiding recovery of less expensive metals.

See also:

"The top global water research institutes"

"Frack water market to reach $9B in 2020, spur water treatment innovations"

 
About Lux Research

Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients. For more information, visit www.luxresearchinc.com.

###

 

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

New report assesses water quality in areas with fracked oil & gas wells

According to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study, more data and research are necessary to best undertand the potential risks to water quality associated with unconventional oil and gas development in the United States.

SNC, USFS launch Watershed Improvement Program in response to ongoing risks

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy, in partnership with the United States Forest Service, has announced the launch of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program in response to ongoing climate change, damaging forest fires and ongoing drought throughout the West.

LAN to design new lift station for city of Friendswood, Texas

The city of Friendswood, Texas, recently announced that it has selected Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam to replace its existing Lift Station No. 18.

MWH, Brown & Caldwell to provide program management services for Pure Water San Diego

The City of San Diego has awarded a contract to MWH Global to manage and assist in the delivery of Pure Water San Diego. In partnership with Brown and Caldwell, the five-year, $30-million contract includes program management services to move the project from planning into implementation.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA