Green Technology Puts Money Back in Your Pocket
Yes, you can have it all. With CLEANTEK’s innovative products, you can save money while helping the environment. CLEANTEK’s game-changing light tower saves seventy-five to ninety-five percent of fuel consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and noise pollution, when compared to traditional light towers.
Imagine this: a light tower with LED lights, solar panels, and an engine that provides lighting for a construction crew, pipeline build, drilling lease, or a football field.
The tower also has an intelligent control system that turns the generator on when the solar-powered lithium ion batteries get low. When you are in northern Canada, for example, winter sunlight is limited, so solar power only goes so far.
The best part? You can plug auxiliary equipment into the tower without the generator turning on. Construction tools can be powered without all the noise and exhaust of a conventional generator. The specialty LED lights made in CLEANTEK’s facility in Alberta put out twice the light of a standard LED.
The bright young minds at CLEANTEK Industries, based in Calgary, Alberta, call this high-tech beauty the SolarHybrid.Li. The first prototype was built in 2012, and the second generation, with an improved lithium-ion battery bank, came off the line in 2015. It is based on sophisticated technology that is also user-friendly.
“We channel our inner iPhone,” says Kristine Curlett, CLEANTEK director of sales and marketing.
“You turn it on, and it’s supposed to be easy. If we’re putting a piece of equipment on site that’s a little bit different than what they’ve been using, and it’s complicated, and they can’t figure it out, that piece of equipment is being sent back to us. We want to make everyone’s life easier. And we’re doing it.”
Demand has ramped up production for a number of sectors, including construction, oil and gas, and event management. The company’s light towers were part of Calgary’s summer GlobalFest Fireworks Festival, lighting up the field after the show as the spectators headed home without the horrible exhaust smell from conventional towers.
CLEANTEK also manages the entire fleet of light towers in Western Canada with GPS tracking, so if there is something wrong with one of the units, the company will know about it before the customer and can act swiftly to fix the problem.
Doing things better and greener is what inspired the Curlett brothers to found the company, first known as Horizon Oilfield Solutions, in 2009, as a full design and manufacturing facility.
Jesse Curlett, vice president of operations, had worked on Alberta drilling rigs and witnessed the high-maintenance boiling tank evaporator systems that boil off wastewater using a diesel flame. He brought his business-minded brother Josh, now chief executive officer, on board and developed the CleanSteam and ZeroE water dehydrators for the oil and gas industry.
The ZeroE technology harnesses waste exhaust from the drilling rig’s generators – to separate the pure water within wastewater and release the clean water vapor to the air, along with cooled, scrubbed exhaust stream. Benefits are two-fold: it reduces the expense and logistics of trucking and disposal, and it reduces the impact that large water hauling trucks have on the environment by significantly reducing the number of trucks on the road.
Ingenuity and tenacity are part of the company culture. Just when CleanSteam was ready for market, government regulators banned the practice of boiling wastewater on drilling rigs. Josh had to petition regulators and provide test results to prove that his system’s dehydration process was safe and effective, only sending clean, dry steam into the atmosphere.
Josh knew that if he could not deploy the technology and make money on it, he was going to have to shut down the company, and people were going to lose jobs, Kristine says. “That’s why tenacity is such a big word for us. You can tell us no, but we’re not stopping.”
It was the downturn in oil and gas that prompted the company to diversify and rebrand as CLEANTEK to better reflect the move into the non-oil market – but the sector remains a huge growth area as the company plans to expand into the U.S. market.
“We love the fact that we’re Canadian-made and tested in our harsh winters, but there’s a lot of opportunity [in the U.S. and abroad]. We just want to continue expanding our reach,” Kristine says. She joined the company in 2015 when the employee count was twenty-seven. Now there are almost one hundred.
The patented technology has been applauded by industry magazines and put Jesse in the spotlight as one of the top thirty-five entrepreneurs under the age of thirty-five in Alberta. And CLEANTEK is just getting started, Kristine says. Putting solar panels on construction or mining sites gives companies a cleaner, pro-environment image which is good public relations for their clients and the communities where they operate.
The biggest pat on the back comes from customer satisfaction and testimonials. While greener technology is often more expensive than conventional options, the company offers equipment that is better for the environment and comes with impressive cost-savings. It really is beneficial for all parties.
“Green and cost-savings are no longer mutually exclusive,” Kristine says. “We are saving our customers money, and the social responsibility is there as well. One of our light towers prevents forty-nine tons per year of CO2 from going to atmosphere. Multiply that by the two hundred we have in our fleet. We’re doing good things.”
Kristine says she is also proud to be part of a family-oriented business. She and Josh invited the entire staff to their wedding in Belize, with no vacation days docked.
“We all have each other’s backs,” she says. “I think the struggle of starting up a company is huge. There are triumphs and struggles. But we can come home after the roughest day and still laugh and be there for each other.”
CLEANTEK has definitely got a feel-good vibe that goes beyond the innovative products and planet-friendly approach. In fact, Kristine keeps all the company swag in her office, and says if she sent out the invitation, employees would raid her stash and wear the T-shirts: “They love and appreciate the company, and they want to wear our brand! They are family to us.”