TROY, N.Y.--()--R3 Fusion, Inc., a clean technology company based in Rensselaer Technology Park, announced that it has executed a contract to demonstrate its patented SPaCeR™ technology on the treatment of flowback water generated in hydraulic fracking operations. Unconventional gas reserves in shale deposits have greatly extended the fossil fuel reserves available to the United States and will be critical in power generation, home heating, and transportation as a substitute for gasoline and diesel. Accessing these reserves has a huge potential benefit to our national security and economy. However there is a hold on natural gas development in New York because of concerns about the hydraulic fracturing technique - “fracking” - and the disposal of water used and produced in the process. Up to 2 million gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals are injected into a well during fracking to break up rock thousands of feet underground and release trapped natural gas. About 40 percent of the water returns to the surface and must be disposed of as a hazardous waste. With potentially 500 wells to be drilled in New York annually this adds up to nearly a billion gallons of water to be sourced, injected and treated.
Disposal or reuse of the water is expensive and problematic depending on chemistry, proximity to treatment facilities, and treatment required. Due to the range of potential contaminants and the high volumes involved, frac water cannot normally be sent to municipal waste water treatment systems. This water is normally drained into ponds and then trucked to a treatment facility which is expensive and a source of friction with local residents and municipalities whose roads are not suited to such traffic.
R3 Fusion expects to recycle the water used in hydraulic fracturing by using its on-site water recovery and reuse concept. If successful, the treated water can be reused by companies drilling for natural gas, it could be legally discharged into surface water systems, used for agriculture, or discharged to municipal treatment.
Dr. Roshan Jachuck, R3 Fusion’s President and CTO, commented: “This significant challenge highlights the critical nexus and interdependence of water and energy. By offering a solution to a major environmental concern, one of the largest domestic energy resources may become accessible. The ability of our technology to significantly impact the purification, reuse, recycling, remediation, and desalination of a wide range of water sources is exciting and we look forward to working closely with our partners in NYS to demonstrate our patented SPaCeR™ technology in this critical application.”
The SPaCeRTM (short path condensate recovery) system is capable of high volume, energy efficient separation of pure water from a wide range of fluids including briny solutions, industrial waste streams, frac water, completion fluids in oil and gas drilling, and many others. The technology does not require chemicals or membranes to achieve water separation and has already been scaled to a commercial level. Highly contaminated fluids with up to 80,000 parts per million total dissolved solids have been purified using the SPaCeR™ technology.
About R3 Fusion, Inc.
R3 Fusion, Inc. is a cleantech company focused on the development and commercial application of process intensification technology to water purification and desalination in a wide range of markets, ethanol recovery, biofuel synthesis, and green chemistry.