Cost Effective Recovery of Low-TDS Frac Flowback Water for Re-use

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The project goal was to develop a cost-effective water recovery process to reduce the costs and envi-ronmental impact of shale gas production. This effort sought to develop both a flowback water pre-treatment process and a membrane-based partial demineralization process for the treatment of the low-Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) portion of the flowback water produced during hydrofracturing operations. The TDS cutoff for consideration in this project is < 35,000 {approx} 45,000 ppm, which is the typical limit for economic water recovery employing reverse osmosis (RO) type membrane desalination processes. The ultimate objective is the production of clean, reclaimed water suitable for ... continued below

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Henderson, Claire; Acharya, Harish; Matis, Hope; Kommepalli, Hareesh; Moore, Brian & Wang, Hua March 31, 2011.

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Description

The project goal was to develop a cost-effective water recovery process to reduce the costs and envi-ronmental impact of shale gas production. This effort sought to develop both a flowback water pre-treatment process and a membrane-based partial demineralization process for the treatment of the low-Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) portion of the flowback water produced during hydrofracturing operations. The TDS cutoff for consideration in this project is < 35,000 {approx} 45,000 ppm, which is the typical limit for economic water recovery employing reverse osmosis (RO) type membrane desalination processes. The ultimate objective is the production of clean, reclaimed water suitable for re-use in hydrofracturing operations. The team successfully compiled data on flowback composition and other attributes across multiple shale plays, identified the likely applicability of membrane treatment processes in those shales, and expanded the proposed product portfolio to include four options suitable for various reuse or discharge applications. Pretreatment technologies were evaluated at the lab scale and down-selected based upon their efficacy in removing key contaminants. The chosen technologies were further validated by performing membrane fouling studies with treated flowback water to demonstrate the technical feasibility of flowback treatment with RO membranes. Process flow schemes were constructed for each of the four product options based on experimental performance data from actual flowback water treatment studies. For the products requiring membrane treatment, membrane system model-ing software was used to create designs for enhanced water recovery beyond the typical seawater desalination benchmark. System costs based upon vendor and internal cost information for all process flow schemes were generated and are below target and in line with customer expectations. Finally, to account for temporal and geographic variability in flowback characteristics as well as local disposal costs and regulations, a parametric value assessment tool was created to assess the economic attractiveness of a given flowback recovery process relative to conventional disposal for any combination of anticipated flowback TDS and local disposal cost. It is concluded that membrane systems in combination with appropriate pretreatment technologies can provide cost-effective recovery of low-TDS flow-back water for either beneficial reuse or safe surface discharge.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FE0000784
  • DOI: 10.2172/1030557 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1030557
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc831557

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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Creation Date

  • March 31, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Nov. 23, 2016, 11:56 a.m.

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Henderson, Claire; Acharya, Harish; Matis, Hope; Kommepalli, Hareesh; Moore, Brian & Wang, Hua. Cost Effective Recovery of Low-TDS Frac Flowback Water for Re-use, report, March 31, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc831557/: accessed September 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.