New Texas Partnership Targets Water Recycling Technologies

UTA researchers say their chemical-free water treatments will reduce bacterial contaminants, which can produce biofilms and corrosive agents in oil and gas operations. Photo courtesy of UTA.

The Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation (CLEAR) program at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) (Arlington, Texas, USA) is partnering with oilfield equipment supplier Challenger Water Solutions (CWS) (San Marcos, Texas, USA) to develop water recycling technologies to transform waste from unconventional oil and gas development into reusable water.

“UTA’s ongoing efforts will include developing therapies for the treatment of harmful bacteria in the water that are resistant to traditional forms of disinfection,” says Zacariah Hildenbrand, co-founder and scientific contributor to CLEAR.

“Sulfate-reducing and iron-oxidizing bacteria are just two classes of bacteria that can wreak havoc in the oil and gas industry,” Hildenbrand adds. “Bacterial contaminants can produce biofilms and corrosive agents, which can affect production and deteriorate infrastructure. The targeted chemical-free treatments that we are developing will not only ensure that recycled produced water is reusable, but they may also enhance oilfield recovery in production wells where biofouling is problematic.”

The first phase of the research involved a study from Eagle Ford shale waste, in which CLEAR evaluated a modular, multi-step water treatment system designed by CWS within the context of reuse for production well stimulation. The CLEAR team determined that under a wide range of conditions, multiple treatment modalities including adjustable separation, flocculation, and disinfection technologies were able to remove contaminants—the presence of which could preclude oilfield waste from being recycled and reused.

In the second phase, which is ongoing, a research agreement between CWS and CLEAR is designed to pave the way for the development of newer technologies.

Source: CLEAR, clear.uta.edu.