Reprocessing fracking water into usable components

Vancouver Sun:
A research team at the University of British Columbia is pioneering a water treatment technology for gas extraction that could significantly reduce the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing.

Advanced dialysis cells developed at UBC use excess carbon dioxide to desalinate waste water for reuse and also produce hydrochloric acid and carbonate salts as byproducts on site, which are used in fracking and would otherwise have to be purchased and transported long distances, said Alfred Lam, who was a project member during his doctoral studies.

Hydraulic fracturing — popularly known as fracking — involves injecting large amounts of water, grit and chemicals into gas and oil wells under high pressure to fracture the rock and release natural gas. When the pressure is released, million of litres of contaminated, briny water backflows out of the well and must be treated, said Lam, who is helping shepherd the project as an adviser for Vancouver-based Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, which specializes in early-stage clean energy projects.

Waste carbon dioxide is produced by gas flaring and the operation of generators at well sites.

The process is designed to address both carbon management and water desalination, while supplying a part of the industry’s chemical requirements.
There is more.

This process could lead to greater efficiency in the process of extracting energy.  It should also lead to the reuse of fracking water which should save millions of gallons.  I wonder if it is also a more efficient desalination process for sea water.  If so that could be the answer to the water needs for coastal communities.


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