The Southern Research Institute has entered into a contract with the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America—under the Unconventional Resources Program—to develop technologies that will advance shale-gas hydraulic-fracturing water treatment in order to produce National Pollution Discharge Eliminiation System quality water. The project is being funded by the US Department of Energy's Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Research and Development Program established through the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
The two-year project will develop advanced technologies that address issues related to processes and methods for handling and disposal of large volumes of hydraulic fracturing flowback water, as well as water produced during the longer-term production phase. The program will optimize four technologies—two for hydraulic-fracturing water treatment and two for the treatment and disposal of residues (high solid slurry and membrane concentrate) from hydraulic-fracturing water treatment.
"If successful in reducing the economic and environmental issues associated with shale gas production, this technology could have a major impact on energy security and sustainability in the US," said Robert Dahlin, PhD, principal investigator and director of the Southern Research Institute's Power Systems & Environmental Research Center in Birmingham, Alabama.