Inventor Says Megaload Does Good

William Heins built massive evaporators that clean water and reduce waste

The inventor of the giant water evaporators at the center of the most recent megaload battle said the equipment is unfairly associated with the harshest extraction methods being used at oil fields in the Canadian tar sands region.

William Heins, vice president and general manager of the Bellevue, Washington-based Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI), a subsidiary of General Electric Company, said the equipment is used in facilities that pump oil from beneath the Earth’s surface and not from open-pit mines.

“There are just some surface facilities with some water treatment processes and oil and water separation processes,” he said.  “You don’t have any of the open-pit mining.  You don’t have these big wastewater ponds associated with these plants.”

The equipment that Heins invented cleans water used in the oil extraction process, known as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), so waste is reduced or eliminated and the water can be reused.  But the equipment is massive, and getting it to the oil fields is proving to be problematic. Continue reading