Sparx Engineering releases programmable water solution for shale

By Sparx Engineering | September 16, 2019

Sparx Engineering, a company with a 10-year track record of innovation, fixing and solving engineering challenges that improve efficiency, productivity and outcomes for its clients in a wide array of industries, has announced the creation of its first wholly-owned separate company, Countertrace LLC. The new company's patent-pending technology was designed to treat and optimize fluids for industrial purposes, such as hydraulic fracturing operations.

Countertrace's breakthrough technology, developed by Sparx' own team of scientists and engineers, is based on a unique polymer macroparticle that can be programmed to identify and selectively contain and remove contaminants from complex fluids allowing for reuse or disposal. Reusable macroparticle spheres, sized 1 mm to 10 mm in diameter, are covered in receptors that bind the targeted contaminant, signal the acquisition of the target via a color changing sensor and then is easily filtered for reclamation. Simply, the hollow plastic pellets grab and hold a contaminant just with their presence in the fluid. This technology reduces the amount of chemicals and water needed in the extraction process.

"With forecasts showing a doubling of oil production in the Permian Basin and surrounding areas over the next five years, water has emerged as the most critical variable in industrial operations in terms of both cost and risk, and our water management method provides a better, smarter and realistic solution," said Robert Hanes, head of chemical products and services at Sparx. "Our technology gives companies, such as those in the oil and gas industry, a cost-effective and scalable process which is also environmentally friendly."

Sparx' introduction of Countertrace at the Rice Alliance Forum signals that its solution to selectively containing and removing contaminants from complex fluids is market ready. Sparx has invested more than $2 million developing this technology since 2017 with the goal of producing a highly protected and valuable platform technology for multiple industries.

"Our focus has now moved to scaling our technology for bulk production to meet pending market needs," said Paul Hoopingarner, one of Sparx founding partners. "The effective and efficient sourcing, use and disposal of water is at a critical point in the oil and gas extraction process. We have a realistic solution and are now looking to identify strategic partners to ensure the technology is as effective in the field as our extensive laboratory testing and validation has shown to date."