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