The water treatment business is doing well in these scary economic times. Here’s a report about Pueblo firm Water Company, LLC’s plans to expand operations in Pueblo, from the Environment News Service. From the article:
Known simply as The Water Company, LLC, the company has about 30 employees and operates in a small industrial building near the Pueblo airport. With today’s announcement, the company will be moving to a larger facility and growing its workforce to at least 140 by 2012. “These are clearly difficult economic times around the world, around the country and around Colorado. Pueblo itself is no stranger to tough times,” Governor Ritter said at a news conference with officials from The Water Company, LLC; the Pueblo Economic Development Corp., the Pueblo City Council and the County Board of Commissioners. “But even now, even as people are struggling, something exciting is happening here in Pueblo,” he said. “The Water Company is part of a clean-tech industry of the future,” the governor said. “It’s part of the knowledge-based economy we’re building all across Colorado. The new jobs and the expansion being announced today are another example of how we are leading Colorado forward by re-positioning and re-tooling Colorado’s economy for long-term sustainable growth.”[…]
The Water Company uses an electrical separation system for reducing contaminants and impurities from water known as capacitive deionization, that does not require chemicals and generates no secondary waste stream. Capacitive deionization involves the use of porous electrodes to remove dissolved ions through application of an electrostatic field. In the electrostatic removal system, a contaminated water stream flows between pairs of high surface area carbon electrodes. Ions and other charged particles, such as microorganisms, are attracted to and held on the electrode of opposite charge. The negative electrode attracts positively charged ions such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium, while the positively charged electrode attracts negative ions such as chloride, nitrate, and silica. Eventually, the electrodes become saturated with contaminants and must be regenerated. The voltage is removed, and the ions are released and flushed from the system, leaving purified water. Capacitive deionization is adaptable for use in a wide variety of commercial applications, including domestic water softening, industrial water softening, waste water purification, sea water desalination, treatment of nuclear and aqueous wastes, treatment of boiler water in nuclear and fossil power plants, production of high-purity water for semiconductor processing, and removal of salt from water for agricultural irrigation.
The Water Company aims to sell its technology to oil refineries and other industrial facilities that must decontaminate their discharged water to meet federal regulations. The Pueblo City Council is considering giving the company an existing but unfinished building, a $1.4 million grant and a no-interest $1.4 million loan for five years. Officials say the company would have to return the building and repay the grant if it fails to meet job targets.
Update: More coverage from the Pueblo Chieftain (Peter Roper):
It was a festive occasion, full of the promise of new jobs. So with that many Puebloans in the room, the speeches had to mention who went to which local high school. [Pueblo native and chemist Brian Elson], who noted that he graduated from Centennial High School, talked about how important it was to him that he has been able to work in his hometown and raise his family near his parents.
The Water Company, with support from the Pueblo Economic Development Corp., has decided to stay at Pueblo’s Airport Industrial Park and expand into a bigger business with the help of a $1.42 million grant and a $1.38 million loan from the city’s half-cent sales tax revenue for economic development. In exchange, the company intends to add 100 more jobs over three years. “These are jobs for scientists and engineers and are the highest paying jobs PEDCo has ever recruited,” said Dan Centa, PEDCo’s president.
Update: More coverage from the Pueblo Chieftain (Loretta Sword):
[Puebloan Brian Elson’s] creation — the Elsonite Capture Process — is the water-purifying technology that The Water Company hopes to install at petroleum refineries and other water-intensive businesses around the world.
The process involves using carbon-sponge electrodes and ionization to remove dissolved solids and chemicals from water. The result, Elson said, is a product more pure than can be found anywhere in nature.
“My dream was always to be the first one to see something, or for that matter, to hold it. I always thought that would be a wonderful moment, and it turns out it is,” said Elson, who not only was the first to see and hold the device, but who created it after countless hours of research and tinkering in his basement. “It’s a tremendously cool technology and it uses low-voltage DC power to do it, lending itself to the potential of solar technologies that would have a very small environmental footprint,” he said during a telephone interview a few hours before joining his partners and officials of the Pueblo Economic Development Corp. for an afternoon news conference…
“Our first business model is commercial, but in the long term, you will see this technology licensed to someone who will place it in homes for water softening. It will be used for ocean desalinization eventually. There’s a tremendous market for it because, basically, anything in water that holds a charge, we can take that out. “It will be used for municipal water reuse. With this technology, eventually we can take reuse water (treated sewage) and purify it to a very high quality. We can take those gray waters and remove the things that are dissolved,” he said, and end up with potable water of higher quality than what’s turned out of most municipal treatment plants.
Update: More coverage from the Pueblo Chieftain (Jeff Tucker):
The city of Pueblo celebrated one of its own Monday and followed the party with a dedication of $1.4 million in half-cent sales tax money, a $1.3 million loan and a 50,000 square-foot building to his company. Council voted unanimously to approve the designation to The Water Company, which plans to bring about 100 high-paying jobs to the community…
The city will give the company a 50,000 square-foot building on a lot at the Pueblo Memorial Airport Industrial Park and the money will help the company remodel the building to suit its needs.