Thursday September 3, 2015 0 comments
DENVER -- The oil-and-gas industry needs innovative new tools to more efficiently extract energy resources, meet tough new government clean air regulations -- and save some money along the way.
On Wednesday, 10 companies with those kinds of tools pitched their products during the second annual Oil and Gas Cleantech Challenge hosted by the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association (CCIA).
The companies selected by CCIA to present at the product showcase hailed from Colorado, Michigan and California and were picked from a national call that resulted in 20 applications.
“We worked with our oil-and-gas companies to identify technologies they said they needed,” said Christine Shapard, CCIA’s executive director.
Those companies included ConocoPhillips, Encana and Noble Energy – all with extensive ongoing drilling operations in Colorado.
Shapard said the recent drop in oil prices makes finding more efficiencies in the oilfields more important than ever.
“With the low cost of gasoline, producers have to innovate and invest in innovation,” she said.
Companies pitching on Sept. 2 at the Boettcher Mansion Carriage House included:
- ACT BioRemediation Products, Dacono
- Apogee Scientific, Englewood
- Carnot Compression, Scotts Valley, Calif.
- Embitel Technologies, Southfield, Michigan
- Leptron Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Denver
- NanoConversion Technologies, San Jose, Calif.
- OptiEnz Sensors, Fort Collins
- Steelhead Composites, Golden
- Sturman Industries, Woodland Park
- VAIREX Air Systems, Boulder
Those attending the Cleantech Challenge rated each presentation, and the top three companies were (in no particular order) Apogee Scientific, Carnot Compression and NanoConversion Technologies.
Shapard said the three companies will be invited to take part in the Oil and Gas Symposium at Colorado State University in October.
James Armstrong, Apogee Scientific, said his company’s Leak Detection System (LDS) specializes in detecting methane and CO2 leaks and is saving money for oil-and-gas companies by shutting down those leaks.
Armstrong said the technology is becoming especially useful as tougher state and federal regulations are adopted to protect air quality from oil-and-gas-related leaks.
“I think the market is getting bigger and bigger with the regulations now coming into place,” he said.
Armstrong said the LDS system is “very, very user-friendly.”
“It does not take a skilled operator, which makes it even more cost-effective,” he said.
Todd Thompson, Carnot Compression, said his company’s unique centrifugal compressor addresses the heat, increased wear on parts and higher energy consumption seen with standard compressors.
“We have just one moving part -- the fan -- and it's designed for high reliability," he said. “We’ve got strong interest from the industry.”
Mike Staskus, NanoConversion Technologies, said his company has developed an efficient, low-cost device to convert heat to electricity.
“It has all the efficiency of an engine but with no moving parts,” he said.
The prototype of the device is now being tested by Gentherm and is expected to be ready for commercialization in 2017.
Staskus said he believes the C-TEC thermoelectric converter will deliver up to 3 times the efficiency of today’s equipment.
“It’s a high-reliability system,” he said. “It has to run unattended for a year.”
Other companies made presentations on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, the Internet of Things and oilfield control, pressurized gas transport vessels, fuel cell technology and bioremediation to clean up spills and stains.
While there was no cash prize for the top presenting companies, CCIA’s Shapard said the event is viewed as a great way to make industry connections.
She said last year’s inaugural Cleantech Challenge resulted in the pitching companies having 14 conversations with oil and gas companies, and at least five having follow-up conversations.
“It did indicate there was a lot more follow-up than is just happening here,” she said of the day’s interactions.