Produced water - enhanced reuse & hyper-saline desalination

Development of an innovative system for the treatment and desalination for
reuse of high salinity produced water from unconventional oil & gas production. Integration of efficient pre-treatment with low-temperature membrane distillation to provide a novel cost-effective water reuse system.

Production of oil & gas from shale deposits uses hydraulic fracturing ("Fracking") and other "unconventional" stimulation techniques. As its name implies, this type of production uses high pressure water, combined with chemicals, to fracture the source rocks and open a pathway for releasing oil & gas deposits. Production of shale oil & gas and other "non-conventional" production techniques are rapidly expanding globally, especially in North America, China & Latin America, and are projected to become a major global energy source. Fracturing of shale oil & gas wells use up to 6 million gallons of water per well. While the water volumes per unit of energy produced is small compared to a number of "conventional" alternatives, the unique quality of Fracking "Produced Water", combined with limited disposal options in a rapidly growing industry, make water treatment and reuse a significant global challenge for the industry. Recycling of Produced Water from shale oil & gas operations raises a number of technological challenges, and requires a combination of several innovative solutions: - In many cases, Fracking Produced Water has very high salinity levels, well above seawater. This makes conventional desalination techniques, such as Reverse Osmosis, ineffective for treatment and reuse. - Fracking Produced Water often include high levels of dissolved contaminants such as metals, calcium, silica and other ions that limit water recovery and desalination efficiency due to scaling. - Fracking Produced Water include oils, dissolved hydrocarbons, chemicals, solids and bacteria that require efficient removal prior to and/or after desalination. As a result, it is essential to develop, qualify & integrate innovative water technologies into a full treatment process that is compatible with Fracking Produced Water qualities and capable of efficiently treating them for reuse. Such technologies are in their infancy and require further development and site testing before being proposed at commercial scale. The proposed pilot aims to treat hyper-saline Fracking Produced Water to a level that enables their reuse in the Fracking operation or for irrigation and industrial applications. This should be achieved at maximum efficiency, while minimizing environmental impact & cost. Proposed Technologies to be tested: • Dissolved air flotation (DAF) for reduction of oils, solids & organics, combined with chemical and/or electro-coagulation. • UF membranes – ceramic and/or specialized polymeric membranes for complete removal of solids, oils & bacteria. • Desalination by Low Temperature Membrane Distillation (MD): capable of removal salts and conductivity at high salinity levels. Proposed pilot data: • Test site: Shale gas & oil production sites in Alberta, Canada • Production flow: 1-2 m3/h • Feed quality: 80,000-180,000 mg/L TDS. High oils, solids, VOC's and mineral contamination. • Product Quality: <50 mg/l TDS, <1mg/L TSS, <0.1 mg/L oils. • Control System: the pilot will be fully automatic, including on-line reading, data logging & trending. • The pilot will be containerized, enabling pre-fabrication, easy installation and mobility between sites. Program scope: • Lab-scale tests on water samples in order to predict system performance and optimize pilot deign. • On site operation of each sub-unit, and the entire system as whole. • Monitoring water quality and operational parameters by both on-line and lab analysis. • Technology component sub-tests for optimization of the integrated process. • Testing at several feed qualities and at changing conditions in order to achieve a flexible process. • Up-scaling of the process based on pilot results for commercial applications.
Project ID: 
8 831
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
990 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Water Pollution / Treatment
Market Area: 
Water, sewerage, chemical and solid waste treatment plants

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