The Co-op Refinery Complex is moving toward a more environmentally-friendly way of working, with a waste-water improvement project.
The $200-million project will clean 100 per cent of the water the refinery uses, then convert it to steam to heat the refinery, create power, and to produce hydrogen.
Scott Banda, CEO of Federated Co-operatives Ltd., said the biggest incentive to starting the project was sustainability.
“Water is critical to the operation of the refinery. We use a lot of water on site. The monetary incentives are negligible, if any.”
The Regina refinery said this will reduce the smell that can sometimes come off the waste water ponds, and will reduce its reliance on freshwater by 28 per cent.
In 2013 the refinery finished an expansion that increase the amount of oil which could be processed, while at the same time increasing the amount of water the refinery needed. Gilbert Le Dressay, vice president, said it was a problem they needed to find a solution to.
This spring, the project is cleaning about 75 per cent of the water the refinery uses – removing the volatile organic compounds. Now, the refinery is heading toward the last phase.
“Once we have 100 per cent flow, and we’re happy that we can consistently hold the quality then we’ll start to commission the last phase where we actually recycle the water,” explained Le Dressay.
Once the project is fully up and running, it will reduce the amount of water the refinery uses to less than what was used before the expansion. It’s expected to be fully operational by fall.
The refinery is using technology developed by General Electric, with live bacteria, filtration units, and high-efficiency reverse osmosis.
Once the project is finished, the refinery said it will be the only refinery in North America with the ability to clean and recycle its waste water.