Thursday, November 8, 2012

Water Treatment From Fracing and Other Sources

Debate over the the geotechnical technique known as hydraulic fracturing (aka, “fracing” or “fracking”) continues. Much of the expressed concern focuses on perceived potential for groundwater contamination. Some of this ignores the fact that the fracing fluid is injected multiple thousands of feet below groundwater aquifers and that the potential for contamination may be related to improper or faulty well linings. Other concerns are directed toward the nature of chemicals used in the fracing fluid. See our earlier Inkling posts herehere, and here.

Jerome Angelilli (Irving, TX) and four co-inventors were awarded patent US 8,211,296 on July 3, 2012 for their “Portable water treatment system and apparatus”. The patent, assigned to NCH Ecoservices, LLC (Irving, TX), was issued under the USPTO Green Tech Pilot Program, analyzed in Way Better Patents' USPTO Green Technology Pilot Program Discovery and Analysis Report. Their invention is found in the Way Better Patents  Water Index.

The abstract provides a succinct summary of Angelilli et al.’s invention:
"A portable water treatment system and apparatus is disclosed that can effectively and efficiently treat aqueous fluids by quickly and reliably adjusting and controlling the free residual level of disinfectants, contaminants or additives through the addition of one or more treating agents such as oxidizing chemicals and/or other special-purpose additives, and that can continuously store, log, retrieve and report the related fluid composition data and other operating parameters on a real-time basis at either the use site or a remote location. A preferred use for the subject system and apparatus is managing the chemistry of disinfectant, contaminant and/or additive levels in aqueous fluids used in hydraulic fracturing operations, and controlling the free residual levels of the disinfectant or contaminants within the fluids, including fluids maintained in frac tanks during temporary cessation of a hydraulic fracturing operation."
They envision other uses for the portable water treatment system, including industrial cooling water, HVAC cooling water, fruit and vegetable wash water, or poultry wash water, primary and secondary disinfecting of potable water, and treatment of aqueous fluids for subsurface applications such as disinfection, drilling, fracturing, well stimulation, sour well conversion, and well cleanout. Their oxidizer of choice is chlorine dioxide; this compound is also used for bleaching wood pulp, bleaching flour, and municipal water disinfection.
A multiple-use portable water treatment system that can help improve the quality of flowback from fracing operations. This is a good example of clean tech.

The inventors received a new patent on the same technology - 8,226,832