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ARIS MacPhail collaborate on unique training tool

March 11, 2016

The ARIS team and research associates pose together for a photograph.

SAIT students are using a state-of-the-art technology for their capstone projects, thanks to a collaboration between Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) and the MacPhail School of Energy.

The Produced Water Treatment Train (PWTT), designed by Environmental Technologies researchers, was formerly used with industry research partner Volker Stevin Contracting Ltd. Last year, the first phase was installed in a MacPhail lab and involves metal complexation - removing oil and contaminants with lime-soda ash. The second, newly completed phase, is an ion-exchange process that softens and polishes water for re-use.

"Three students are currently designing a lab exercise using the PWTT equipment as their capstone project," explained Kai Chan, Chemical Engineering Technology instructor in the MacPhail School of Energy and capstone-project supervisor. "Going forward, this lab exercise will be used to teach our students the basic water-treatment principles utilized by industry, the basic design parameters of produced-water-treatment equipment, and the methodology of controlling the process flow through an equipment train." The technology is also being used by four students in the School of Construction.

"I have students from the Engineering Design and Drafting Technology program working on the plant scale-up design for the PWTT," explained Joseph Apawan, process engineering researcher with ARIS. "According to them, it is a challenge but is worth working on as their capstone project."

In addition to its usefulness in capstone projects, the PWTT gives students access to industry-relevant technologies. "Water treatment is an important part of the oil-and-gas industry, hence, incorporating it into our program is very important," explained Martin McDonald, academic chair of the Chemical Engineering Technology program. " The PWTT allows us to reinforce lessons learned in the classroom."

Vita Martez, the senior research associate with Environmental Technologies, initiated this project in 2013. "SAIT's produced-water-treatment-train laboratory provides hands-on applied education to learners in technology programs and corporate training," said Martez. "It also demonstrates innovative and sustainable solutions that address environmental challenges facing the community, industry stakeholders and small-to-medium-sized enterprises."

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