Phil Mateo, Director of Marketing & Technology, BWA Water Additives spoke to Anoop K Menon on why biodegradable antiscalants are a greener and cost-effective alternative to conventional antiscalants.
Could you elaborate on the environmental impact of conventional antiscalants and what is it attributable to?
This depends on the antiscalants. Many older antiscalants are phosphonate-based, which adds phosphorus to the environment, and therefore, detrimental to plant and fish life. Other common antiscalants are polyacrylates (PAA) that don’t biodegrade and persist in the environment.
Is there a common definition or agreement on the term ‘biodegradability’ with regard to antiscalants?
There is a generally accepted standard for testing the biodegradability of chemical substances in water. These standards were formulated by the OECD in order to provide member nations a common definition for everything from biodegradability of chemicals to best practices for global finance. We follow OECD 302b for testing chemicals in fresh water, such as cooling water products, and OECD 306 for oil field products.
How is the Belclene 800 family different from conventional antiscalants?
BWA offers PMA – Polymaleate polymers – that are both highly effective scale inhibitors in severe service applications, and biodegradable. The Belclene 800 series incorporates BWA’s latest technical breakthrough PMA technology, which offers the same high performance, with more than double the biodegradability of our traditional PMA technology.
Are there any tradeoffs between performance and degree of bio-degradability?
There are no such tradeoffs where Belclene 800 and 810 are concerned. We believe that our technology enables superb performance and environment friendliness. Earlier competitive technology often sacrificed performance in order to achieve biodegradability.
In terms of dosing rates, would there be any difference vis-a-vis conventional antiscalants?
Dosage levels are dependent on many variables, including water quality, system design, and severity of operation. Belclene antiscalants are highly effective in severe service applications, and frequently, can replace other antiscalants at lower dosages.
What are the factors that will help quicken the shift towards environment-friendly antiscalants? How would you characterise existing obstacles to their adoption?
First, general public awareness of the need for environmentally friendly products, which will gradually drive companies to offer products that meet this need.
Second, the enacting of regulatory legislation requiring specific levels of biodegradability.
With Belclene 800 now in the picture, what do you propose to do with your existing portfolio of antiscalants?
As mentioned earlier, BWA’s PMA products already offer a level of biodegrability. Belclene 800 and 810 offer another increment of biodegradability for applications requiring the utmost in environmental friendliness. It is likely the ‘early adopters’ will be oilfield and commercial and institutional applications.
How would you advise customers evaluating environment-friendly antiscalants? What are the questions they should ask?
Customers should seek products that offer the greatest overall value, including product performance attributes such as improvement in operating costs (lower energy or water use), prolonging asset life, ease of application, and environmental impact.
Apart from the work on the ‘degradation’ aspect, are there any other approaches to developing environment-friendly antiscalants?
It really comes down to two factors – the inherent properties of the product – is it generally safe and benign before degradation, and then how it biodegrades. Hitting both these aspects provide the safest product profile.
Category: Industrial Water