Projects

Selected Work Experiences of Mickley & Associates and Dr. Mickley

PROJECT: DISPOSAL OF MEMBRANE CONCENTRATE WASTE
CLIENT: American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF)
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Investigate issues concerned with the disposal of wastes from membrane processes used to produce drinking water. Membrane processes in the drinking water industry provide an alternative and frequently cost-effective source of drinking water from the treatment of lower quality waters such as brackish and sea water. A waste stream is produced which must be disposed of. The lack of suitable disposal options in some cases and the general cost of available options can affect the feasibility of using membrane processes to produce drinking water. The project characterizes membrane concentrate wastes, evaluates waste minimization and disposal options and documents the permitting of waste disposal on a state-by-state basis.

PROJECT: SILICA SCALING IN REVERSE OSMOSIS SYSTEMS
CLIENT: Office of Water Research and Technology
LOCATION: Lakewood, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Perform laboratory glassware and reverse osmosis tests to characterize silica-scaling parameters. Small reverse osmosis pilot plants were used to gather data on silica scaling phenomena. Together with extensive glassware studies and literature research this resulted in definition of a conceptual model for how and under what conditions silica forms scale. Guidelines for operation were developed and recommended.

PROJECT: A NOVEL SURFACE MODIFICATION APPROACH TO ENHANCE FLUX/SELECTIVITY OF POLYMERIC MEMBRANES
CLIENT: Department of Energy
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: To determine the technical feasibility of a gas-phase surface modification technique to produce improved membranes. The technical feasibility of a proprietary surface modification technique was studied. Existing polymeric membranes were modified using a gas-phase technique. The transport properties of the resulting membranes were compared to those of virgin membranes and of membranes modified using a liquid-phase surface modification technique.

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PROJECT: PRE DUE DILIGENCE EVALUATION OF MEMBRANE COMPANY
CLIENT: Golden Technologies Corporation
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Evaluate products, patents, personnel, development plans, and market potential. The evaluation of a membrane and membrane device company was done for a client considering investment and ownership in the company. The investigative and analytical work included visiting the company and interviewing key personnel as well as researching the literature and competitive products and services.

PROJECT: DEVELOP MEMBRANE-BASED PROCESSES TO REPLACE ENERGY-INTENSIVE WATER TREATMENT PROCESSES
CLIENT: Department of Energy
LOCATION: Lakewood, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Develop new, specialized membranes by means of chemical grafting to allow specific separations to be economically achieved. Charged ultrafiltration membranes were developed that offered enhanced rejection of multivalent anions (and cations) for use in a low-pressure partial demineralization process. True grafting was not obtained, however, feasibility studies suggested the attractiveness of the general approach to making membranes and also the potential cost and energy savings of a membrane-based process relative to the lime clarification process when used for the partial demineralization of brackish waters.

PROJECT: A NOVEL WAY TO MAKE LOW-FOULING POLYMERIC MEMBRANES
CLIENT: National Science Foundation
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Develop both hydrophilic and hydrophobic membranes for fouling studies. The membrane industry has generally associated low-fouling membranes with hydrophilic membranes. Other industries, however, have found that for some types of fouling, the best low-fouling surfaces are hydrophobic. This project focuses on the development and study of membranes of both types through the use of various surface modification techniques applied to available membranes.

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PROJECT: DEVELOP WATER AND DETERGENT RECYCLE SYSTEM FOR METAL CAN WASHING OPERATION
CLIENT: Golden Technology Corporation
LOCATION: Golden, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Assist in the development of an ultrafiltration-based processing system. Present aluminum can washing systems produce significant amounts of aqueous wastes requiring treatment. A new detergent system provides the basis for an environmentally attractive process which produces minimal wastes through recycle of both detergent and water.

PROJECT: DIAGNOSIS OF MEMBRANE PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS FOR COMMERCIAL MEMBRANE SYSTEMS
CLIENT: Several Different Clients
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Determine reasons for degraded membrane performance. We provided consulting services for determining the cause of membrane performance deterioration. We further recommended pretreatment, operating conditions and cleaning regimens for maintaining high membrane performance. Specific tasks included water analysis, analysis of scaling and fouling potential, analysis of operating records, membrane wet tests, membrane autopsy, and analysis of foulants/scalants.

PROJECT: MEMBRANE-BASED PROCESS FOR PRODUCTION OF PROTEIN FROM GREEN LEAVES
CLIENT: Rubisco, Inc.
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Consult on the applicability of using membrane processing steps to produce a high quality, edible protein from alfalfa. A previous processing scheme was judged not to be economically feasible. The potential of a membrane-based processing sequence was defined and research was begun to determine the technical and economic feasibility of the membrane-based process.

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PROJECT: MEMBRANE TREATMENT OF IRRIGATION RUNOFF WATER FOR REUSE
CLIENT: United States Department of Agriculture
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Develop negatively charged membranes to partially demineralize irrigation runoff. The initial phase of this work developed a proprietary technology for the surface modification of polymers and led to the production of favorably modified membranes. Research produced improved membranes and defined the technical and economic feasibility of using such membranes in water treatment processes.

PROJECT: PROCESS COST WORKBOOK
CLIENT: Synergen, Inc.
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Develop a workbook for determining separation and purification costs for the processing of various biotechnology products. Design theory, sizing approach, and equipment costs were defined for centrifuge and membrane equipment. The information was then cast into a workbook format so total product costs and total capital investment costs could rapidly be determined, given appropriate input information.

PROJECT: DESIGN MANUAL FOR GEOTHERMAL POWER AND DESALINATION
CLIENT: Bureau of Reclamation
LOCATION: Lakewood, Colorado and Boulder City, Nevada
ASSIGNMENT: Prepare a handbook for the preliminary design of processes using geothermal resource energy. The Bureau of Reclamation requested preparation of a design manual that would considerably reduce the effort required for preliminary designs of power and desalination plants at geothermal resource production sites. Using the manual along with preliminary geological data for the resource, an engineer can arrive at preliminary designs and costs for all aspects of the project. The handbook contains a series of design modules, including modules for production wells, pipeline gathering network, power production, pretreatment, multistage flash desalination, cooling tower, sludge handling, well reinjection, and makeup water supply. These modules combine to provide a full conceptualization of the design together with construction costs, annual costs, power and water production rates, and economic return.

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PROJECT: FIELD TESTS OF OIL AND GAS PIPELINES
CLIENT: ARAMCO
LOCATION: Saudi Arabia
ASSIGNMENT: Measure the characteristics of slug flow in large diameter flowlines These tests represented the first ever on pipelines with the large diameters tested. Slug formation and their characteristics under both "steady-state" and transient conditions were measured during normal operation of the pipeline. Special probes were developed for the tests, and were successfully utilized by insertion into the pipeline through hot taps. Measurements were made of gas bubble velocity, liquid slug velocity, lengths of each phase, and the holdup in each phase. The tests focused on slugs with high GOR values, characteristic of gas-lift operations. Subsequent work used nuclear densitometers to characterize slug flow in flowlines over a wide range of diameters.

PROJECT: MARKET ANALYSIS FOR PLANT-DERIVED PRODUCTS
CLIENT: Hauser Chemical Research
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Define and make preliminary evaluation of market alternatives The market for plant-derived products was characterized and market alternatives were identified.

PROJECT: TWO-PHASE FLOW IN GEOTHERMAL WELLS
CLIENTS: Denver Research Institute/U.S. Department of Energy
LOCATION: Lakewood, Colorado and various field sites
ASSIGNMENT: Model two-phase flow for the design of geothermal production wells and take actual well field measurements for model correlation. A computer model for pure water and steam two-phase flow in geothermal production wells was modified to include the effects of dissolved solids and gases on the temperature and pressure profiles in the wells. Field tests were conducted to obtain data to confirm the model validity.

PROJECT: FIBER/RESIN MATRIX ADHESION IMPROVEMENT
CLIENT: Allied Fibers
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Increase the adhesion between highly oriented polyethylene fibers and resin in high performance composite materials. Research was conducted over two phases lasting approximately 20 months. Proprietary grafting technology was used to attain improved adhesion that was greater than any previously achieved by plasma, corona discharge, chemical modification and other techniques.

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PROJECT: RECOVERY OF BORON AND OTHER MINERALS FROM WASTE STREAMS
CLIENT: National Science Foundation
LOCATION: Lakewood, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Conduct bench scale studies to determine the technical feasibility of recovering minerals, principally boron, that are present in brines in low concentrations. The approach to this study was to modify the chemistry of dissolved boron, and of the other chemicals of interest, such that they could be more easily concentrated and recovered from brines by means of membrane-based processes. Standard reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration membranes were tested. The feasibility project successfully demonstrated the technical potential of the 'selective ultrafiltration process' that was developed.

PROJECT: WASTE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR METAL PROCESSING FACILITY WASTE STREAMS
CLIENT: AMAX, Inc.
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Analyze process information, EPA regulations and define processing alternatives that permit waste streams to meet EPA effluent guidelines. Two metal processing facilities needed to submit plans to the EPA on how to bring waste streams into compliance with the new effluent guidelines. Process alternatives were examined and two technologies were recommended for further research and development.

PROJECT: REMOVAL OF HAZARDOUS WASTE FROM GROUNDWATER
CLIENT: Southern California Edison
LOCATIONS: Rosemead, California and Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Consult on the applicability of various processing modifications that would allow less costly removal of toxic substances from groundwater. An existing processing system was marginally successful in removing hazardous materials from groundwater but had very high operating costs. Short-term process modifications were defined and a proposal was submitted to conduct research towards defining long-term alternative processing systems.

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PROJECT: DEVELOP PROTOTYPE FOR MEN'S TOILETRY PRODUCT
CLIENT: Private Individual
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Investigate the technical feasibility of a concept for a sport-related product. Few toiletry products are marketed specifically for sports-minded people. The idea that a product, applied to the skin following a workout and shower, could help bring body temperature back to normal was investigated. A prototype product formulation was developed.

PROJECT: SURFACE MODIFICATION OF FIBER MAT
CLIENT: TAYCA CORPORATION (Japan)
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Improve moisture uptake of proprietary fiber mat material. The increased and reproducible uptake of moisture from the surrounding environment was a necessary characteristic of a potential new fiber product. Results from other surface modification techniques previously studied were unacceptable. The work conducted involved the determination of the feasibility of using a proprietary surface modification approach to meet client product specifications.

PROJECT: EVALUATE TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY OF NEW PRODUCT IDEAS
CLIENT: ALLTECH ASSOCIATES
LOCATION:` Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Analyze design problems and make recommendations for overcoming the problems. Some promising prototype designs for innovative ion chromatography devices were encountering performance problems. An analysis was performed that included consideration of concepts, data and designs. Recommendations were made for further investigation.

PROJECT: SIMULATION OF PROPRIETARY PROCESS TO REMOVE NONCONDENSIBLE GASES FROM STEAM
CLIENT: ------
LOCATION: Lakewood, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Develop computer model to aid in design and data analysis for pilot, demonstration size, and production units. The model involved fluid flow, heat, and mass transfer of both vapor and liquid streams including the non-ideal liquid-vapor equilibrium. Activity coefficients were calculated for 10 different chemical species.

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PROJECT: TESTING OF PROPRIETARY CHEMICALS FOR TREATMENT OF SOLID AND LIQUID WASTES
CLIENT: Duracore Corporation
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Evaluate effect of treatment on various wastes. The proprietary chemicals have potential to render toxic and even hazardous wastes to be nontoxic and nonhazardous. The chemical effects include degradation of organic materials and encapsulation of heavy metals. Analytical tests were defined and carried out on various wastes.

PROJECT: MAJOR ION TOXICITY IN MEMBRANE CONCENTRATE
CLIENT: American Water Works Association Research Foundation
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Study the occurrence, nature, and mechanism of common ion toxicity. This relatively new discovered type of toxicity differs from that due to heavy metals and pesticides and other more typical types of toxicity. It is not bioaccumulative and some question whether or not it should be considered as toxicity. This project defined the nature of the toxicity and developed methods to predict its occurrence at a given site.

PROJECT: NPDES PERMIT COMPLIANCE
CLIENT: Various Clients
LOCATION: Several locations
ASSIGNMENT: Assist clients in meeting discharge permits. The work typically involves effluent characterization, process analysis, regulatory interaction leading to definition of technical and regulatory options and recommendations. It has also included identification of unknown sources of toxicity.

PROJECT: INDUSTRIAL EFFLUENTS - PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS WORKSHOP
CLIENT: Servicios Ambientales Integrados (SAISA)
LOCATION: San Jose, Costa Rica
ASSIGNMENT: Develop and present lectures. The lectures covered: industrial processing concepts, pollution prevention and waste minimization concepts, and assessment and feasibility studies.

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PROJECT: CONSULTING - REVIEW OF DISPOSAL OPTIONS
CLIENT: Black & Veatch
LOCATION: Gaithersburg, Maryland
ASSIGNMENT: Review issues and concerns surrounding disposal of membrane concentrate from projected treatment plant that will receive effluent from large computer chip plant in construction.

PROJECT: CONSULTING - REVIEW OF DISPOSAL OPTIONS
CLIENT: Black & Veatch
LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada
ASSIGNMENT: Review issues and concerns surrounding disposal of membrane concentrate including thermal disposal options for proposed membrane production of drinking water from groundwater sources.

PROJECT: SURVEY OF DRINKING WATER AND MUNICIPAL WASTE WATER PLANTS UTILIZING MEMBRANE TECHNOLOGY
CLIENT: Bureau of Reclamation
LOCATION: Denver, Colorado
ASSIGNMENT: Conduct survey, develop database, develop disposal cost models. An in-depth survey of operating practices from over 200 plants will be used to produce an interactive database. A survey of thermal desalination plants will also be included. Federal and state regulation of membrane process waste disposal will be documented. Cost models of concentrate disposal methods will also be developed. Text and interactive database will be made available in CD format.

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