Fracturing of gas wells releases natural gases and wastewater fluid that is recovered as flowback water – wastewater that traditionally requires treatment to be cleaned before it is discharged into the surrounding environment.
There has been a tremendous amount of pressure based on the public opinion to look for eco-friendly solutions to clean this flowback water that pose minimal risk to the surrounding ecosystem.
There is a growing concern that this fracking waste should not be processed as it runs the risk of polluting water that leaves the wastewater treatment plants. OriginOil, based in Los Angeles, has demonstrated a breakthrough in water clean-up technology to target water-intensive industries including oil and gas, algae, and the agricultural sectors.
How it works…
This new eco-friendly technology is called Electro Water SeparationTM and is designed to use a chemical-free process that can extract organic chemicals from flowback water. This new technology becomes a key contender in the clean-up of ‘frack’ water found in oil and gas wells in a conscious effort to lower the ammonia and bacterial contamination levels that occupy fish farms and thus supports the growing concerns by the public to eliminate the clean-up process of fracking wastewater at plants.
The first part to this new water treatment technology involves electro-coagulation of water entering a vessel. During the passage of water through a vessel, electrical impulses are generated inside the and this impulse coagulates the water.
Traditional methods of coagulation of water treatment involve using chemical gelling agents which can affect the membrane separation process. The Electro Water SeparationTM avoids any use of chemicals by substituting this part of the clean-up process with electrical impulses.
Successful Field Demonstration of OriginOil's Aquaculture Process
OriginOil’s Electro Water SeparationTM Technology. Video courtesy of OriginOil.
The second stage of this electrically-stimulated water treatment involves separating the concentrate from the water by generating a low power electrical pulse to create bubbles that help lift and separate the concentrate up to the surface. The aim is to create a collection of concentrate that contains chemical waste and algae feedstock.
Electro Water SeparationTM is energy-efficient that only involves two clear stages and has demonstrated the removal of up to 99% of oil and suspended solids from algae and agricultural waste without any use of chemical treatment.
Applications in Industry…
The fish farming industry is of particular significance with the application of Electro Water SeparationTM. Wastewater contaminated with ammonia is increasing the mortality rate of the aquatic population and so an effective measure is important to help save a billion-plus dollar industry. Using this new technology that can sanitise water and help recycle algae as a fish feed, could help transform and manage the expansion of this industry.