RE­TURN ON IN­VEST­MENT

How two broth­ers found a bright fu­ture by bring­ing their hy­brid LED light sys­tem to the oil­field—and be­yond

Alberta Oil - - CONTENTS -

A self-manag­ing light tower that cuts costs and emis­sions

CAL­GARY-BASED CLEANTEK IN­DUS­TRIES IS GO­ING GLOBAL with a so­lar-diesel hy­brid LED light tower that can light up a drilling rig, a Texas foot­ball field or il­lu­mi­nate a re­mote mine in Pak­istan. With a zero-emis­sions waste­water de­hy­dra­tor in tow, it’s also a nat­u­ral fit for off­shore oil rigs.

But it all started in­land in Alberta, where two broth­ers were tin­ker­ing with clunky diesel-guz­zling light tow­ers that can burn up to 95 per­cent more fuel than the LED hy­brid they even­tu­ally pi­o­neered. Ar­guably, for CEO Josh Curlett it started out years ear­lier when, as a 10-year-old, he caught and sold wild tur­tles to pet shops, piquing his in­ter­est in free en­ter­prise.

The chal­lenges that he and his brother, Jesse, have over­come since found­ing Hori­zon Oil­field So­lu­tions in 2009— re­branded as Cleantek this year to bet­ter re­flect their move into the non-oil mar­ket—in­clude staff lay­offs, low cash flows and lack of mar­ket­ing ca­pac­ity.

Work­ing with those prim­i­tive, high-main­te­nance well­head sys­tems that boil off waste­water us­ing a diesel flame, spurred them to in­vent their own ver­sion, har­ness­ing waste heat from the rig’s ex­haust. “We self-funded the first $200,000 in 2010, which got us to proof-of-con­cept and then we con­tin­ued fund­ing with eq­uity from fam­ily and friends un­til R&D was com­plete,” says Josh Curlett. But by the time their “CleanSteam” waste­water de­hy­dra­tor was test ready, Hori­zon had just 19 cents left in the bank.

A $2 mil­lion bank loan im­proved things. “In the early days we grew the com­pany the hard way—we raised just enough money to get us to next mile­stone, which would de-risk the

JOSH CURLETT, CEO OF CLEANTEK IN­DUS­TRIES, WITH A FUEL-SIPPING, SO­LAR-DIESEL HY­BRID LIGHT TOWER

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