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A Systems-Level Approach for Integrated Shale Gas Wastewater Management

Tavakkoli, Sakineh (2018) A Systems-Level Approach for Integrated Shale Gas Wastewater Management. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Economic benefits of shale gas production in addition to its potential for enabling energy security are driving the strategic development of unconventional natural gas in the U.S. However, shale gas production poses potential detrimental impacts on the surrounding ecosystems. In particular, sustainable management of high salinity wastewater is one of the critical challenges facing shale gas industry. While recycling shale gas wastewater is a practical short-term solution to minimize total water use in the fracturing process it may not be a viable strategy from a long-term management perspective. Moreover, direct disposal into Salt Water Disposal (SWD) wells which is the most common management strategy in the U.S. is not cost effective in Marcellus shale play due to limited disposal capacity.
This work develops a systems-level optimization framework for guiding economically conscious management of high salinity wastewater in Marcellus shale play in Pennsylvania (PA) with a focus on using membrane distillation (MD) as the treatment technology. Detailed techno-economic assessment (TEA) is performed to assess the economic feasibility of MD for treatment of shale gas wastewater with and without availability of waste heat. Natural gas compressor stations (NG CS) are chosen as potential sources of waste heat and rigorous thermodynamic models are developed to quantify the waste heat recovery opportunities from NG CS. The information from waste heat estimation and TEA are then utilized in the optimization framework for investigating the optimal management of shale gas wastewater. Wastewater management alternatives ranging from direct disposal into SWD wells to advanced centralized, decentralized, and onsite treatment options using MD are included in the optimization model.
The optimization framework is applied to four case studies in Greene and Washington counties in southwest and Susquehanna and Bradford counties in Northeast PA where major shale gas development activities take place. The results of this analysis reveal that onsite treatment of wastewater at shale gas extraction sites in addition to treating wastewater at NG CS where available waste heat could be utilized to offset the energy requirements of treatment process are the most economically promising management options that result in major economic benefit over direct disposal into SWD.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKhanna, Vikaskhannav@pitt.edukhannav
Committee MemberVidic, Radisavvidic@pitt.eduvidic
Committee MemberBilec, Melissambilec@pitt.edumbilec
Committee MemberGilbertson, Leanneleanne.gilbertson@pitt.eduleanne.gilbertson
Committee MemberVidic, Natasanvidic@pitt.edunvidic
Date: 25 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 February 2018
Approval Date: 25 September 2018
Submission Date: 20 July 2018
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 170
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shale gas, produced water management, waste heat recovery, techno-economic assessment, optimization
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2018 15:35
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2020 05:15


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