WVU research helps power plants recycle water using wastewater from oil and gas mining
5 Dec 2023
Simulations from West Virginia University researchers demonstrate their use of two kinds of industrial wastewater to decontaminate each other has the potential to slash a power plant’s total water use.
The researchers from the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources modeled various scenarios for using “cooling tower blowdown” and “produced water” to treat each other. Cooling tower blowdown is wastewater produced by thermoelectric power plants, while produced water is created by hydraulic fracturing mining for oil and gas. The cotreatment process yields valuable byproducts as well as water that’s clean enough to be reused in power plant cooling operations. The study’s findings were published in the journal Desalination.
According to lead author Hunter Barber, a doctoral student in chemical engineering from Fairchance, Pennsylvania, no other industry in the U.S. uses as much water as thermoelectric power generation.