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Technique for the Removal of Organics and Dissolved Solids from Aqueous Medias


Fracking fluid

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing utilize a fluid to stimulate shale gas formations and prevent fractures from collapsing. The fracking fluid is a mixture of freshwater, chemical additives, and proppant (typically sand). 2-4 million gallons of this fluid are required for each fracking site and almost all of this fluid is returned to the surface as flowback water. Additionally, produced water begins to seep from the well as the fracking continues. Currently, these fluids cannot be reused for the next fracture because the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) far exceed the restricted limit of concentration, sometimes containing up to 250,000 ppm. Disposal of these fluids is costly and time consuming, as well as environmentally unfriendly. This technology has the capability to recover at least 90 percent of water used for hydrofracturing with a quality suitable for discharge onto land or into receiving streams. The process utilizes supercritical water to remove organic, microbiological, and heavy metal. Total Dissolved Solids from the flowback/produced water. First the water is filtered, then pressurized and preheated. The water enters a separator vessel where dissolved solids, heavy metals, and microbial constituents are removed from the water.


Seperator vessel diagram

OU Ref: 12008 View PDF

Issued Patent: US 9,950,939

Pending Application: CA 2,862,631


Jason Trembly, Ph.D. Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment.