Is Water the New Energy? Expert Colin Frayne on Influent Water Systems
by Amanda Moreno, Editor-In-Chief
These days, a glass of water is valuable commodity, and not just because we’re sweltering in the midst of those hot summer months. As the population increases, so does our global industrial water usage, which is why Knovel’s next seminar Designing & Managing Influent Water Systems- Keys to Minimizing Risk & Maximizing Flexibility, is such a dynamic topic.
The webinar panel features industry expert Colin Frayne, an accomplished industrial chemist, corrosion engineer and environmental scientist, whose published works include Boiler Water Treatment – Principles and Practice, Volumes I-II and Cooling Water Treatment – Principles and Practice. I recently spoke with Colin to delve into his expertise on responsible water reuse practices.
K-Exchange: Tell me a little bit about your background as an industrial chemist and what peaked your interest with water treatment and technology.
Colin Frayne: I did not choose this field . . . It chose me! I grew up outside London in a period of austerity, food rationing and bombed-out housing immediately following the Second World War. There were no choices.
When I was 16, I had to leave school due to lack of finances. Luckily, my father arranged an interview for an Apprentice Chemist Position with Ford Motor Company, which was the world’s largest integrated auto facility at the time, with 83,000 workers in the London location. Working for Ford allowed me to pay my bills while attending college in the evenings.
When I was 22, I obtained my first degree but by then had worked in more than a dozen factories in several countries (pig-iron manufacturing, coke ovens, sintering plant, forge, foundry, metal stamping, pait/trim/assembly, wheel plants, engine plants, power utility plan, by-product plant, ect). I was then promoted, and I went back to school and worked for the Ford European Research and Engineering Center, where I was the corporation’s European Water and Microbiology Expert, and the rest is history.
KX: There seem to be many methods to remove contaminants in water. In your opinion, which do you think is most practical and efficient for businesses and organizations? Can you briefly explain the process?
CF: Every local water supply in every part of the country and world is different in some way and varies seasonally, so there is a never-ending challenge to find the most useful and economical process for any given location. There are hundreds of potential processes, which is why water treatment experts are required and there is a viable global business.
KX: Explain how recycling water is a viable “green” solution?
CF: Access to water differs tremendously throughout the globe, and many countries with ample water resources have been unfairly exploited, squandered and polluted, with no thought of reduction—recovery—reuse. This situation in changing due to repaid population growth, demands for a fairer distribution of water, and the observable results of pollution and squandering of resources. Wastewater is not waste! Water is no longer cheap. Water is the new energy.
KX: In the US, research reveals that less than one percent of cooling systems employ recycled or reuse water, and many industries worldwide fail to provide even basic water reuse technology. Why do you think this is the case?
CF: There is no reason why water used for general industrial purposes to cooling tower makeup (which constitutes 50-80% of all water used in commercial/industrial facilities) has to be of an expensive potable standard.
That being said, most water treatment companies in this industry are market followers, not market leaders. We in this industry need to seek new markets to utilize our skills and experience, in areas such as:
• Global water and energy savings
• Environmental Protection, such as climate change technologies, improved POTW management and water pollution control
• Next-generation information technology (IT), communications, data management systems
• High-tech manufacturing and nano-technology industries
• New energy sources and clean-energy vehicles
• New materials: plastics, composites and novel engineering alloys
KX: Your research has led you to work in over 60 countries—What insights has your experience given you concerning the global impact of water reuse technologies in the coming years?
CF: European and US-Based companies assume they have a comparative advantage in most water treatment sectors. We don’t – except in local services – and even that is changing with the advent of Foreign Service companies entering our marketplace. So we can’t just provide yesterday’s “standard” water treatment ideas for current problems in traditional water treatment markets (i.e. boilers/coolers).
Water is the new energy, and water security is the next global issue. We need to apply today’s novel water treatment technology to target problems we can foresee in tomorrow’s industries and market sectors.
Join us Thursday July 21 at 12:00 PM EDT to hear more from Colin on how to maximize reliability & flexibility of critical “front end” water systems in industrial facilities, also known as influent water systems, for production and manufacturing.