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Water Management Techbook 2018

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34 | April 2018 | hartenergy.com WATER MANAGEMENT: TECHNOLOGY The first sales were to the oil/gas and mining mar- kets. But according to Nicholson any industry that produces high-strength waste brine or uses ponds for water remediation and retention is a good candidate. There are many ponds that have been utilized for decades and are now approaching full, he added. "The regulators are not allowing additional ponds, so large volumes need to be dealt with," Nicholson said. "You have to figure out what to do with this water. Our concept was to make a very robust system that can really handle almost any kind of water you can give it." Often these types of applications are in very remote areas with few inhabitants and a shortage of skilled labor. "We built it so that it can be easily put together in weeks, not months, which would be typical for this equipment. It is not what we call a mobile asset, but it is a relocatable asset," Nicholson continued. The core technology of this system is not new— forced circulation evaporators and crystallization are established and proven technologies. However, Veolia has added a few features that give it very high reliability. Many of these features have been devel- oped from other challenging markets that operate on highly corrosive, viscous or fouling applications. The technology takes in a highly contaminated, high-volume waste stream and converts it to a high-volume clean water stream and a small-volume waste stream. The waste stream that is discharged is either a highly concentrated slurry or waste salt cake. The clean water stream is usually returned to the client's facility for reuse, but it can be surface discharged on occasion when water is in excess. The process utilizes electricity to operate in a highly effi- cient process called mechanical vapor compression, Nicholson said. Ceramic membranes for ultrafiltration APATEQ's OilPaq is a system for the treatment of produced water, fracture flowback and brine based on a combination of proprietary process technolo- gies and ultrafiltration membranes, which means the filters have very small pore sizes. "It is not intended to produce drinking water here, but to remove any impurities that are present in the water in a solid form," Martin said. "Suspended solids, free oil and pre-emulsified oil are taken out." In the markets for clean brine, companies will add salt to freshwater as a certain weight is needed—10-lb brine for example—to be used for drilling purposes, supporting the control of the downhole pressure. According to Martin, rather than taking freshwater and adding salt, OilPaq operators can reuse the efflu- ent from the system directly. The core component of the equipment is the membrane technology. "An upfront pretreatment removes larger particles from the water ensuring that the membranes are not overstrained. We take out the majority of the suspended solids and the free oil in a first step before the water passes the ultrafiltration. The system is actually a combination of several pro- cesses," he added. For now the company has developed a contain- erized system. The lowest offered capacity is 2,000 bbl/d, and there is such a unit operating in the Utica/ Marcellus. "It is the smallest unit we have, but we see it more like a demonstration plant because it can be easily deployed and moved," Martin said. "The attractiveness of the technology and pro- cesses is that these can be scaled up linearly. We have done extensive tests with customers, and they are in agreement that the technology can be scaled up. We developed the OilPaq in a modular design that can easily be adapted according to customer needs, and it is perfectly suited for large volumes," he added. This detailed view shows the ultrafiltration module and piping in OilPaq's container. (Photo courtesy of APATEQ)

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