A new program at the Colorado School of Mines hopes to bridge the gap between research and commercialization
The Colorado School of Mines recently celebrated the grand opening of a new 10,000 sq ft research facility in Denver that will pave the way for greater collaboration with industry, government and academia to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing society today – access to clean water.
According to Patch, the WE2ST (Water-Energy Education, Science and Technology) Water Technology Hub will accommodate research focused on developing innovative treatment technologies for produced water from oil, gas and mineral production, groundwater contaminated with emerging contaminants (including toxic poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances), saline and hypersaline streams, municipal water, wastewater and more — leading to sustainable water reuse.
"Colorado School of Mines was founded almost 150 years ago to help industry grow and thrive and since those early years, solving water and wastewater treatment challenges have been a key part of its research mission," said Stefanie Tompkins, vice president of research and technology transfer. "As we approach our next 150 years, we want to continue to be a go-to place for the use-inspired research and innovation needed for society's big challenges. This new facility is an important step in that direction, allowing our amazing researchers – in partnership with other research institutions, industry and government – to bridge the gap between lab-scale and commercial-scale water treatment technologies."
According to Patch, the WE2ST Hub includes full analytical and wet labs for water analysis, a fabrication facility and a flexible research bay, with capacity for 30,000 gal of water and rail line access for bringing in those water samples from anywhere in the U.S.
The industrial facility was previously operated by NGL Energy Partners which donated the entirety of the facility's equipment to Mines, a gift valued at approximately $800,000, according to Patch.
"For over a decade, NGL Energy Partners has been treating oilfield waste water, creating clean water for use in irrigation, municipal and industrial applications, and, in addition, returning substantial amounts of clean water to the surface for beneficial use," CEO H. Michael Krimbill said. "We are proud to be a part of this project and look forward to an ongoing collaboration with Colorado School of Mines through serving as a partner to assist in efforts to pilot and commercialize innovations that flow from the WE2ST Water Technology Hub."