London, 8 November 2023 – Envorem, an innovative UK company, has been granted a European patent for its innovative oily sludge remediation technology. It quickly and economically disassembles sludge back into oil, water, and sediments, most of which can be recycled.
Oily sludge is a viscous, sticky mess. It is almost impossible to pump and is a hazardous waste that no-one wants. Envorem has developed an innovative new technology that uses a little known property of water to process production sludges, cleaning the solids and recovering the entrained oil – all without generating emissions. The technology combines established techniques with hydraulic shock and cavitation, where bubbles are created by the vaporisation of water, a phenomenon copied from the natural world. Cavitation can be generated ultrasonically, electrically, or physically and is widely known as a parasitic effect that destroys propellers on ships and the impellers of pumps. The collapse of cavitation bubbles is so powerful it liberates fragments of metal from the surfaces.
“We are delighted to have been granted the patent for our innovation technology,” Mark Batt-Rawden, CEO of Envorem said. “Oily sludge is a global problem for the oil production and maritime industries. The usual disposal routes for these wastes are incineration or dumping into open pits. The latter is really just procrastinating the problem as the sludge will not go away and will eventually have to be incinerated generating colossal quantities of CO2. Our solution is incredibly fast, inexpensive and kind to the environment. It makes the prospect of clearing large deposits of sludge both financially viable and deliverable in a short timeframe. The priority however should first be to displace current disposal methods and use our technology instead, reducing emissions and the expansion of landfills.
The most common remedial strategy in Europe is incineration, a costly and environmentally damaging operation that releases around 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of sludge. Other technologies and remediation techniques that have been attempted around the world include thermal treatment, chemical oxidation, and centrifuge based systems. However, these are generally too slow and too costly in addition to having their own environmental drawbacks.
Envorem recently completed a highly successful pilot in Oman for their National Oil Company (PDO) to treat sludge and oil-contaminated soil. The pilot proved the technology generates a fraction of the emissions of thermal treatment and is both cheaper and faster. Ninety nine per cent of the oil was recovered from sludge as crude of usable quality – a double benefit, reducing the need for extraction and its associated carbon footprint, plus saving emissions from disposal by incineration. Furthermore, this demonstrated that if the value of recovered oil is included, costs are potentially net positive providing a financial as well as environmental case for change in practice.
Mark Batt-Rawden adds, “We have found a solution for the industry that not only contributes to their ESG goals but should cost them less too! Everyone wins, especially the environment.”