Projects funded by DOE include clean up of “cold war” nuclear materials and breakthrough technologies for cleaning flowback and produced water using new absorbent materials and desalination. Federal guidelines are being met by cre- ation of a registry of chemical additives in frac fluids and ways to retrofit small engines to meet new EPA requirements.
DOE Announces Cleanup of Cold War Legacy is Five Months Ahead of Schedule
A May 12, 2011 press release from U.S. DOE announced that the High Priority Performance goal in the Obama Administration to clean up the legacy of the Cold War had been ac- complished five months ahead of schedule. The Cleanup footprint has been reduced from 931 square miles to 516 square miles, a 45% reduction. The cleanup included removal of 635 debris piles, decommissioning of 38 ra- dioactive and industrial structures and cleanup of contaminated soil at the sites. Cost of the cleanup operations was funded by $6 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvest- ment Act. Use of Recovery Act funds for the cleanup work has provided jobs, training pro- grams for workers and helped economic re- covery in legacy sites across the country. Two of the largest sites that the cleanup efforts fo- cused on are the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and the Hanford Site in Washington. Cleanup continues at sites in many states. The goal is to achieve 90% reduction of the environmental footprint by 2015 and DOE is on track to achieve that goal.
Excerpted from “Recovery Act Investment Saves Money, Trains Workers and Creates Jobs,” www.energy.gov/news/10325.htm.
Breakthrough Water Cleaning Technology
ABSMaterial’s Osorb® technology devel- oped under a grant from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) holds the potential to reduce environmental impact from producing natural gas from the Marcel- lus Shale and similar shale gas formations across the country. The innovative concept uses swelling glass to remove impurities from flowback and produced water. The break- through technology relies on a hybrid organic- inorganic nano-structure of glass that swells to eight times its original volume when exposed to hydrocarbon-based fluids. The swelling process is reversible and the materials can be
reused repeatedly. A field demonstration con- ducted in April 2011 is based on pilot-scale development of the Osorb® water treatment system. The system is a non-regenerating skid-mounted unit that can handle water input of four gallons of water per minute with a 60-gallon per minute trailer-mounted system designed for Osorb® regeneration. ABSMaterials systems have been laboratory tested for water samples from the Woodford, Haynesville, Clinton and Bakken formations in addition to the demonstration in the Marcel- lus Shale. The skid-mounted system is capable of removing 99% of oil and grease, and 90% of dissolved BTEX hydrocarbon compounds and significant amounts of other chemicals found in flowback and produced water. Field tests conducted in the Clinton Formation in Ohio in July 2010 and March 2011 showed that hydrocarbon levels in wastewater were reduced from 227 milligrams per liter to 0.1 milligrams per liter. ABSMaterials has plans to deploy a trailer-mounted 72,000 gallon per day unit in mid 2011.
Excerpted from “Breakthrough Water Clean- ing Technology Could Lessen Environmental Impacts from Shale Production,” www.net
Cost Effective Waste Water Desalination Introduced in the Marcellus
Altela Inc’s AltelaRain™ 4000 is a water desalination system that can turn wastewater into clean water. The research, funded through NETL, included a field demonstration at BLX, Inc.’s Sleppy well site in Indiana County, PA. The field test of the treatment process was nine months of continuous operations treating flowback and produced water from the Mar- cellus Shale. The AltelaRain unit processed 77% of the wastewater on site, converting it to distilled water. The cost per barrel for water treatment averaged 20% less than previous disposal costs at the site. Water treatment also reduced the need to truck water from the site for disposal, reducing cost and impact on local roads. Altela’s desalination system is based on modular units that are mobile and designed for easy transportation and installation on site.
Because of the success of the DOE project, Altela has designed and sold larger modules to treat 100,000 gallons of water per day at an installation in Williamsport, PA. The desalina-
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tion process is designed to treat produced and flowback water from hydraulic fracing operations. The current module is capable of processing over 50 times more water than the capacity of the original demonstration unit. The system installed at Williamsport is the first of many planned facilities to handle Mar- cellus Shale wastewater in the Appalachian Basin and other shale gas basins in the U.S. NETL believes that the successful demonstra- tion shows the potential to reduce environ- mental impacts associated with producing natural gas from shale formations.
Excerpted from “Water Treatment System Cleans Marcellus Shale Wastewater,” www. netl.doe.gov/publications/press/2011/110414
Emissions Control for Natural Gas Gathering Systems
Kansas State University (KSU) has developed an improved system for emissions control and monitoring of emissions for use in small en- gines used in natural-gas-gathering systems. The project funded by NETL offers an alter- native to replacing engines that do not meet new EPA emissions regulations by upgrading existing engines. Thousands of reciprocat- ing engines are in use by energy companies to produce electricity of compression and re-injection in field operations. Many of these older engines do not meet EPA requirements because of outdated fuel control mechanisms. KSU, working with Innovative Environmental Solutions, El Paso Corporation, Pipeline Re- search Council International, Inc. and Enginu- ity, is developing improved, reliable control strategies for engine operation. KSU uses a four-stoke cycle engine coupled with an exhaust gas oxygen sensor model to predict emissions. The sensor model uses a methane combustion mechanism to detect carbon monoxide formation, oxidation and hydrogen levels. The sensor notifies the engine when the lean mixture requires change for complete catalytic surface reaction. The small engine design and sensor to detect preferred catalytic conditions will be validated so that the engine model will meet new EPA emission standards and will replace outdated air fuel controllers.
Excerpted from “NETL-Sponsored Project Improves Performance, Reduces Emissions for Natural Gas Industry,” www.netl.doe.gov/
publications/press/2011/110420-Reduces%20 Emissions%20for%20Natural%20Gas%20 Industry.ht
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