For those who have ever worried about what was in their water, or used water purification devices on a regular basis, Texas A&M in partnership with GeoPure Water Technologies has come up with a way to make even the filthiest of water squeaky clean. The new technology, Oil Disalination, can turn the water bi-product of petroleum drilling, and production operations into quality drinking water.
David Burnett, Director of Technology for the Department of Petroleum Engineering, said, "We can take horrible quality water, we can take water from the oil field, we can take water from runoff from airport terminals and take it through the various steps and purify it."
The new system has been developed over the last six years and functions much like a water purifier, but on a much larger scale.
It also saves oil companies big bucks.
"In Texas right now what happens is you have about 6.2 million gallons of water produced every day that comes up bi-product of producing oil, and that has to be disposed of. And the disposal cost of that has risen from a dollar per barrel to some as much as five dollars a barrel," said Ray Daugbjerg a GeoPure investor.
While the oil companies benefit from the technology, the portability of the unit also helps benefit the environment in its dealings with waste management at the well site.
Monday Texas A&M officially licensed GeoPure to commercialize the system.
Burnett says their partners in the project were even surprised by the squeaky clean results. "We're doing the analysis of the water that was coming out and they were saying you mean this is the water that's coming in, and had a very detailed analysis, and this is the water coming out" said Burnett.
Burnett says the project is a small example of what technology can do if you move it out of the academic environment and into commercial development.