AUSTIN, Texas — Chemical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed high-efficiency, durable filters to improve mobile water recycling systems used in hydraulic fracturing, the oil and gas drilling process known as fracking. The filters may significantly reduce the amount of water and energy that fracking requires.
Professor Benny Freeman and his research team in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering completed a study that shows their membrane-based filtration system improves the efficiency of treating and safely reusing water used for fracking at drill sites. The study shows that the team’s filter can produce up to 50 percent more water for reuse compared with other filtration systems, greatly reducing demand for fresh water. In addition to producing a higher volume of purified water, the new filter system also operates at lower pressure than traditional systems, meaning significant energy savings. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Membrane Science. (more…)