MIT water tech team proves worth in Permian, Marcellus

By Luke Geiver | April 19, 2017

An MIT spin-off company has found its footing in the oil and gas industry with its evaporation-based approach to wastewater treatment. Gradient Energy Services, a Denver-based technology firm that launched in 2013 and later built a demonstration water treatment plant in Midland, Texas, has now performed multiple case studies for the oil and gas industry in the Permian and Marcellus shale plays. According to the company, operators are now using the Carrier Gas Concentration technology system.

For E&P’s in remote, disposal-constrained areas in Pennsylvania and Colorado or for those impacted by seismicity challenges such as those in Oklahoma, the CGC process allows for an option to dispose of wastewater through evaporation on site, the company said. The CGC process evaporates water and concentrates dissolved solids with a multi-stage bubble column humidifier. The system is mobile and can produce a processed brine suitable for drilling, work-overs, completions or simply to reduce disposal volumes.

Working for an Oklahoma-based operator focused on the Marcellus, Gradient used its trademarked CGC mobile system to dispose of produced water through accelerated evaporation. The system turned a solution with total dissolved solids ranging from 10,000 to 200,000 mg/l to an effluent of water vapor and a concentrated brine.

For a Denver-based operator working near Midland, Gradient used a similar technology designed to remove chemicals from water to enable the operator to reuse water for fracking.

The mobile system can be disassembled and moved to a new site in less than a week. The company said it can also use its system as a supplemental operation at SWD wells.

“Our CGC technology provides a solution that is financially and logistically feasible for E&P operators facing disposal challenges,” said Danny Jimenez, CEO for Gradient. An operator in the Marcellus was able to save roughly $6/bbl on trucking and disposal costs using CGC for onsite flowback and produced water disposal through evaporation, Jimenz said.