Orangeville company uses green technology to eliminate biosolids and generate energy
The Council of the Town of Orangeville passed a resolution in early January supporting in principle a proposal from Orangeville-based Xogen Technologies Inc. to pilot and test a revolutionary new wastewater treatment process at the Orangeville Water Pollution Control Plant.
The patented Xogen technology treats wastewater using an electrolytic process that not only eliminates biosolids but also requires a much smaller facilities footprint than conventional treatment approaches, thereby lowering potential capital costs. As well, the process produces a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gas that can be used to generate energy through combustion or a fuel cell — energy that can be sold back to the grid or re-used to help further reduce costs.
"We believe our patented technology has the potential to revolutionize the wastewater treatment process," said Angella Hughes, CEO of Xogen. "We’re excited at the prospect of moving from the lab — where batch results on the bench have been tremendous — to a real world scenario where we can collect data from a continuous flow model."
In a presentation to Orangeville Council, Hughes described the technology, the scope of the pilot project and its benefits to the local economy.
"We employ six people here in Orangeville in our 3,200 square foot R & D facility," she said. "We’ve invested over $5 million in the last three years to develop this process and we’re really excited about the potential to commercialize this technology."
By partnering with Xogen, the Town of Orangeville joins with other members of a consortium that includes the University of Toronto, Newalta and other specialized technology companies contributing to the project. Xogen has a collaborative research agreement with the University of Toronto which has received financial support from the federal and provincial governments, including from the Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
"In these tough economic times it’s great to see a local company investing in research and development and creating jobs," said Orangeville Mayor Rob Adams. "The fact that Xogen is in the forefront of new ‘green’ technologies is even more exciting. This is the way of the future: looking for new ways to deal with environmental challenges."
Having received the Town of Orangeville’s agreement in principle to act as host for the pilot plant, Xogen will now be submitting a proposal for up to one-third funding for the pilot plant from Sustainable Technology Development Canada (SDTC), a not-for-profit corporation created by the Government of Canada to finance and support the late-stage development and pre-commercial demonstration of clean technologies. Xogen will submit its proposal to SDTC by January 21. SDTC is expected to announce the results of its latest funding round in early July 2009. Design and construction of the pilot project is expected to be completed and fully operational in early 2010. Once operational, the Xogen pilot plant will divert a small portion of raw sewage through its reactor on a continuous flow basis in order to demonstrate its viability for municipal wastewater treatment. An objective third party will evaluate the results. With data obtained from the pilot, Xogen will be able to refine the technology for commercial use in both Canadian and international markets. The pilot plant is expected to run until 2011.