Engineers develop method that can recycle water used in fracking and drilling

A close-up view of the pilot-scale membrane distillation system. Credit: University of Pittsburgh

As demand for new energy sources grows, the wastewater co-produced alongside oil and gas (produced water) shows no signs of slowing down: The current volume of wastewater—the result of water forced underground to fracture rock and release the deposits—is estimated at 250 million barrels per day, compared to 80 million barrels per day of oil.

Engineers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering are developing a new way to reduce the environmental impact of drilling and fracking by cleaning the produced water for reuse, and …

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