Biofilm technology for treating acid mine drainage and frac water

first_imgFrac Biologics, a provider of innovative, cost-effective treatment of ‘frac water’ and acid mine drainage, has licensed proprietary biofilm technologies from Allegheny-Singer Research Institute (ASRI). The company’s technology employs an on-site, environmentally friendly process to remove the heavy metals from the recovered frac water. This uses naturally-occurring bacterial biofilms, which are complex, slime-enclosed communities found in all ecosystems.The Marcellus Shale is the largest natural gas formation in North America, with an estimated value of over one trillion dollars. The natural gas in the shale is accessed by drilling horizontal wells at a depth of 1,830 m and then fracturing the shale to release the natural gas. This fracturing is achieved by pumping several million gallons of fluid (frac water) down into the wells. As the water returns to the surface, it brings with it heavy metals such as cadmium, barium, strontium, nickel, radium and uranium. The safe disposal of this contaminated frac fluid is one of the major obstacles in the drilling of the Marcellus Shale.Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) results when atmospheric oxygen penetrates rock and oxidises pyrites (ferric sulphides), to form sulphuric acid, which then etches the rock and liberates iron salts. AMD occurs very rarely in nature, even in areas of very high pyrite concentration, because a biologically active crust develops on all rock surfaces through the oxidation of small amounts of minerals, the accretion of dust, and the growth of microbial biofilms.Frac Biologics’ technology uses natural soil micro-organisms to prevent oxidation of tailings and waste rock, thus preventing AMD and returning the rivers and streams to their natural state.The company is partnering with Cosmos Technologies, a company with expertise in waste water management and engineering, and the Community College of Allegheny County. Cosmos will provide the research and development expertise to enable the technology to clean the millions of gallons of returning frac fluid from each well.last_img read more

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