Friday, May 27, 2011

What's the catch?

I was asked a “what’s the catch...” question the other day after sharing the success of our program with a potential client.

“…okay let me sum up what you are trying to tell/sell me; - - you say that we can discharge less than 2% of the total water used in our cooling towers, - - get extremely low corrosion rates, - - have zero heat robbing deposits, - - no biological growth, - - no need for any chemical once the protective WCTI chemistry has been achieved. You go on to say that we can actually use recycled waste water without using expensive pretreatment equipment like HERO, demineralizers and do not need to build evaporative ponds and also stop the need for post tower bleed treatment etc… How can that be??... Furthermore, you say we can do all this in most cases for less than a chemical program? OKAY, what’s the catch?”

Not being a fisherman myself, and seeing that the client was an avid fly fisherman (personally, I prefer seeing fish fly at Pike Place Market - its a Seattle thing), I thought hard for a good fish analogy to explain how it is we were able to provide all that we are seeing with WCTI chemistry – and all I could think at that very moment was - “give a man a fish and feed him for a day, or teach a man to fish and he will be fed for a life time”. Then I thought, let’s not go down that road but rather suggested that “there are lots of lures in our WCTI tackle-box” – and the biggest one is MOTHER NATURE!

Then I thought of answering his "What's the catch?"question by offering up my explanation as to why this sustainable natural green chemistry had not been used prior to WCTI’s offering. Maybe that would stimulate an answer for him without having to go into a lengthy and sometimes complex discussion on silica species, high TDS, pH chemistry etc…

Okay, “the catch” as I explained further, could in a way be summed up by what goes on in the board rooms & labs of many chemical marketing and manufacturing companies. For all intense and purposes, manufactured and blended chemicals are the life blood of the water treatment companies. There is nothing wrong with that - that is what they do well. Their business profits are tied, almost exclusively, to the delivery of a drum of chemical – pure and simple. You see, their managers and chemists now know that this patented silica based chemistry works and does what WCTI has claimed. However, it just does not meet their business model or in their standards of operation. Selling water and manufactured additives in a drum has met the industries needs for cooling tower water treatment for many years. You see there really has not been any “newly discovered” molecules for some time now to treat cooling towers for scale, corrosion and biological concerns; so...

QUESTION: What are we going to do as a chemical company to gain new cooling tower business?

ANSWER #1: Maybe... lets start selling new and improved chemical delivery and monitoring equipment - yeah that's it!

ANSWER #2: Or... let's go out and minimize, trash and create doubt about all chemical treatment alternatives, whether we believe it or not.....?

Don’t get me wrong, manufactured chemical additives do work and have been used for water treatment for nearly a hundred years now (i.e. boilers, closed loops, waste treatment and other specialty uses etc...). This sustainable natural green chemistry on the other hand has been around since the beginning of time and could very well have been used by Socrates (if he had a cooling system - maybe he did?) without one drop of the yet undiscovered, Alchemists formula’s.

SUMMARY: Keeping this short and sweet and sticking with the fish theme; ... you can broil and fry fish, but unfortunately, my friends are only selling you the cooking oil for the frying pans!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

FAQ - Soft deposit build up?

Due to the nature of cycled up cooling tower chemistry, "wet/dry - wet/dry" deposits accumulate on surfaces such as drift eliminators / louvers / fill / splash guards. Unfortunately, up until WCTI high TDS water chemistry, this build up was a hard and tenacious CaCO3 type scale from chemically treated systems. Now we see that WCTI with its higher TDS water, appears to build slightly different deposits - is this a problem?

No - These deposits are now non-adherent and highly soluble since they no longer contain the hard scale forming ions of calcium and magnesium. Deposits can now be easily washed down with HES conditioned water at garden hose pressures saving man-hours and damage to the fill caused by high pressure cleaning. A side benefit of washing down your tower is that it actually keeps your tower externals looking cleaner, free from dirt, algae and scale deposit buildup.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Oh my goodness! Where did all that silica go?"

I am having so much fun watching the major chemical companies, especially those that have placed their entire marketing strategy on chemical treatment, make a complete fool of themselves by showing their ignorance (or should I say their flummoxing and befuddling campaign) about Silica based chemistry.....

Their sales forces are desperate and making remarks like "... where did all that silica go?...." In the meantime their PhD's back at corporate are quietly wishing their salesman would simply clam up and be quiet and not dig deeper "dummy" holes for their respective companies.

Their marketing managers are either being complicit in letting their field personnel try to shoot this technology down with real misleading rhetoric or are completely on board and do not understand basic poly-silicate chemistry!

I am not going to spend a lot of time trying to educate my competition, other than to say "...guys do your homework - please! - you are embarrassing yourselves..."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Corrosion potential and White Rust - REALLY?

Here in the PNW (and anyone else in this range of make-up water), regardless how well you passivate and follow cooling tower manufactures recommendations, your galvanized tower basin, tubes and support structure is going to still have White Rust appear and sometimes severely.

You see, good passivation is important and should be practiced, however, all you have to do is just lose your chemical treatment or lose your solids for just a moment; more especially your pH (alkalinity) - you will fall right back into the conditions outlined by the AWT/CTI organizations that list the causes for WR in no time flat.

To avoid extremely high HTI (holding time index), we need to run these chemical programs right on the edge of the WR domain. You see we have a serious corrosion problem up here where you can run the Ryznar Indices and find you have it > 12 - or run the LSI and get -2.6; you are doomed with galvanized. The good news is that more and more contractors and customers are requested and installing SS basins.

However, when you run WCTI conditions and follow proper start-up, your white rust can and will stop and it will be protected by our silica based corrosion control in a much broader range.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Regeneration Performance Analysis

If you have ever run a softener, you know that the one of the main operational functions of that softener is in its regeneration. Without it going through this process correctly, an incomplete regeneration could cause improper ion exchange and allow hardness to show sooner that it's designed removal capacity.
Traditionally, WCTI service personnel or customer's operators would have to run a long manual elution study to try and ascertain what might be causing the softeners to run hard. We saw this as an opportunity and designed in a WCTI HES propriety solution.

At WCTI, with its propriety high efficiency softeners (HES), we have all but eliminated this concern. We have a real time remote monitoring application and alarming tool for the regeneration process. Our RPA (Regeneration Performance Analysis) has assured the customer that he/she is getting sustainable soft water make-up and it has helped our service professionals ensure continuous soft water supply.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Beware of the(this) consultant

Yes, I am a consultant. By definition, a consultant is an expert in his/her field and shows no bias when providing diverse opinions. So I say - "beware of the consultant"

Recently, I witnessed a presentation by a consultant at a water conservation seminar here in Seattle in which he clearly thought he was an expert. However, he showed his complete bias and subsequent ignorance of "THE" subject. I felt he knew traditional water treatment well. However, his presentation of non-traditional approaches to cooling water treatment was so weak, incomplete and biased that it made me ashamed to be classified as a fellow water treatment consultant.

For those old enough to remember Dragnet - "...nothing but the facts ma’am..." Well, it would have been a little more believable had we had the facts. For someone to get up in front of some very important customers and prospects and give anecdotal evidence, highlights my case ..."beware of the(this) consultant."

After summarily dismissing the concept of all non-chemical approaches to water treatment and repeatedly saying "...beware of this technology", he was asked by one particular provider of the pulsed power NCD market " many of these systems have you tested and actually seen fail?" His response after an awkward pause was "...I think about three to five?" However, after hearing what he had to say, you would think that all of these particular NCD's failed miserably - which is simply not the case. In the audience that day, there were a couple of end users of this product that apparently were there to give support of their facility with this particular NCD and I am sure were ready to throw tomatoes at this consultant.

He proceeded to also dismiss the silica based zero bleed WCTI technology. Being a provider of this technology and traditional chemical treatment, I, too, wanted to throw vegetables at this guy, But alas, I kept quiet. One of my questions should/would have been, "...have you ever seen any chemical programs fail?"

You see, this particular company makes their living going into unsuspecting end users and offering their "unbiased" consulting services for a substantial fee claiming they can make that end user's current supplier "toe the line". Trust me, if this were true, why didn’t the end user simply fire his current supplier and just hire them? After all, their fee/costs can be anywhere from 50-100% of the current supplier’s costs. Well, they are not set up to be a local supplier, you see they just become a "super middle man" providing big brother help with testing and their evaluation of these tests. Oh, that's right, I almost forgot, I should have asked "...have you ever had any failed evaluations?" You see, I have personally witnessed mistakes in their evaluations, and had we not seen their evaluation, the unsuspecting customer would have simply believed them - because they must be correct charging this kind of money - right?

After leaving a major chemical treatment provider, I actually had the opportunity to evaluate a number of non-chemical programs, by actually talking to their researchers and scientists - those that actually manufacture and market the products trying to get the facts. So, while I remain a supporter of one particular non- chemical technology, I have a healthy respect for many applications out there today. The consultant to which I refer here has never contacted me or the President of WCTI, so how can he make judgments to the degree he did without proper research?

Now had he been able to present each of these non-chemical programs as they are purely on the technical facts presented by those particular alternatives, I would have felt enlightened and made good use of my time that day. Unfortunately, this did not happen and surely those in attendance must have felt the same or blindly believed this consultant and went away none the wiser.