Drill-site efficiencies with innovative lubricant purification


This week we interview Peter Canovali, CEO of Next Generation Filtration Systems, and talk about their lubricating fluids purification system. Shortlisted for the Ben Franklin Shale Innovation Awards, the Conserver purification system is a highly advanced two-stage system that continuously cleans oil and hydraulic fluid and keeps fluids like new for an almost limitless period of time.

Monica Thomas (Shale Gas International): Next Generation Filtration Systems was recently shortlisted in the Ben Franklin Shale Innovation Awards for its purification system for lubricating fluids. To begin with can you explain, for the non-technical among us, why are lubricating fluids used in the first place?

Peter Canovali (CEO, Next Generation Filtration Systems): Lubricating fluids are used in equipment that is either rotating or stationary. So lubricating fluids in engines, for example, keep the wear and tear down and prevent valuable parts of the engine from wearing out. In hydraulic situations, lubricating hydraulic fluid keeps the servo-mechanisms in the valves from losing their efficiency, which can cause the equipment to fail.

Bad lubricating systems can create major problems with equipment, and if you look around, everything in equipment that moves or moves things has lubricating fluid in it.

MT: So what causes the lubricating fluids to wear out?

PC: Well, first you have to understand that oil itself really doesn’t wear out; it gets dirty. Within the fluid there are certain contaminants that will make the oil dirty and affect the usefulness of that lubricating fluid. Through our research we found the main contaminants and catalysts that would destroy the lubricating fluids.

MT: So what would be the main contaminant?

PC: Water is the major, most damaging contaminant and catalyst that can be introduced to lubricating fluids. Inherent within the oil itself you have sulphur and salt, and when you have combustion within an engine, water can emulsify with the sulphur and salt to form hydrochloric or sulphuric acid.

Water also emulsifies itself with the additives and depletes them, so our system was designed to do something that other systems don’t do and that was to evaporate the moisture from the lubricating fluid.

MT: And how does your system differ from those currently in use?

PC: The industry standard today is to use filters that work by way of absorption, so what they try to do is to absorb the water that’s existing in the oil. They do it to a point where they are picking up what is called ‘free water’, where emulsified water continues to flow through. It’s hard to determine the capacity they really have to take the water, and therefore, they’re changing fluid on a basis that is detrimental to the equipment they are working in.

Basically, those filters are doing two things: they are absorbing water but they are also absorbing oil. So what’s detrimental about it is that they have to then take those filters and try to remove the oil from the filter elements before sending them to a landfill.

Our process gets rid of the water, we don’t see any sense in trying to save or absorb it. Our system simply wants to get rid of the water, evaporate it, so that it’s no longer having an effect on the life efficiencies of both the oil itself and the equipment. They extend the drainage period of the oil dramatically. By keeping the oil and hydraulic fluid clean and free of water, we’re providing extended efficiencies of both the lubricating fluid and the equipment itself.

The real point is: you can either get rid of the water or you can contend with trying to absorb the water and still having it existing within your systems.