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CEPWM: Forming a consortium to advance the state-of-the-art in produced water management.

The ongoing development of domestic oil and natural gas reserves produces up to 2.4 billion gallons of produced water per day. These waters, and the substances contained therein represent a valuable, yet relatively untapped, resource. No two produced waters are alike and thus, there is no singular approach to managing them.

Presently, about 60% of produced waters are disposed of, primarily through deep well injection. Given the rising concerns about causation of earthquakes in reinjection areas, coupled with increased competition for clean water resources worldwide, the demand for new technologies has never been more vital. In addition to the water itself, produced waters contain a multitude of valuable resources such as precious metals, rare earth elements, and a variety of minerals. These “waste streams” therefore represent untapped sources of revenue for stakeholders involved.

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How we can work together

We partner directly with businesses and organizations to perform the necessary research, testing, and modeling to help advance produced water treatment technologies. We invite the oil and gas industry, state agencies, NGOs, consulting firms, and special interest groups to reach out and collaborate with us for a better tomorrow. We are available for hire on a short term or long term project basis.

Meet the research team

Our current team is comprised of experts in physicochemical and biological treatment processes, atmospheric science, material science, inorganic/organic water chemistry, and oil and economics. We will grow our team to add further expertise in the areas of renewable energy, GIS, and natural resources.

Dr. Jonathon A. Brant
Director & Research Lead

Dept. of Civil and Architectural Engineering, Center Director and Treatment Technology Development & Evaluation Lead

Dr. William Bellamy
Deputy Director & Research Lead

Dept. of Civil and Architectural Engineering, Deputy Director and Resource Extraction & Exploitation Lead Lead

Dr. Charles (Chuck) Mason
Research Lead

Dept. of Economics & Finance, Economics & Beneficial Reuse Lead

Dr. Karen Wawrousek

Dept. of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Member of Technology Development Group leading biological engineering research

Dr. John O. Hoberg

Dept. of Chemistry, Member of the Technology Development Group with a focus on nanocomposite synthesis and water quality

Dr. Dongmei (Katie) Li

Dept. of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Member of the Technology Development Group working in the area of membrane synthesis and modification

Dr. David M. Bagley

Dept. of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Professor of chemical and environmental engineering

Mr. Scott Quillinan

School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming, Senior Hydrogeologist

Dr. Fred McLaughlin

Carbon Management Institute within the School of Energy Resources, Senior Petrologist

Dr. Jonathan Brant is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at the University of Wyoming and is a licensed professional environmental engineer (Lic #14591) in Wyoming. Jon has over 15-yrs of experience as a consulting water treatment engineer and researcher scientist. His area of expertise is physicochemical separation processes with an emphasis on membrane processes. Current research projects and interests include process development for recovering rare earth elements and precious metals from produced waters and other brines; development of nanocomposite membranes for thermally-driven separation processes for produced water management; synthesis of engineered nanomaterials for water treatment applications; and characterization of the environmental implications of nanotechnology.

Dr. Charles Mason is the H. A. “Dave” True, Jr. Chair in Petroleum and Natural Gas Economics in the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Wyoming. He is an internationally known scholar who specializes in Environmental and Resource Economics with over 60 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He served as the managing editor of the top international journal in the field of Environmental and Resource Economics, the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, from 2006 to 2011. He is currently an associate editor of the European Economic Review, co-editor of Economic Inquiry, co-editor of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and joint editor-in-chief of Strategic Behavior in the Environment. He earned a double B.A. in Economics and Mathematics in 1977 and a Ph.D. in Economics in 1983, all at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a non-resident fellow at Resources for the Future, and has been a visiting academic at the University of Cambridge (2003); the London School of Economics (2014, 2015); the University of Oxford (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012); the Venice International University, CA’ Foscari (2013); and the Toulouse School of Economics (2013). He has been on the faculty at the University of Wyoming since 1982.

Dr. William Bellamy is currently a Professor or Practice of Civil Engineering at the University of Wyoming, Environmental Engineering Program. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Colorado State University and BSEE and MSCE from UW. Before joining UW, William spent 40 years with organizations such as CH2M Hill, Texaco Inc., US Army Environmental Hygiene Agency, US EPA, and adjunct positions at the Colorado State University and University of Colorado. He retired from CH2M Hill as a Senior Vice President, responsible for the assessment, development, and application of new water, wastewater, and reuse technologies. He specializes in research and application of sustainability principles as applied to proven and developing technologies for industrial, government, and municipal clients throughout the globe. Most recently, he has been involved in assisting with the development of solar and conventional desalination, water purification, advanced biological systems, and unique alternative energy use and energy storage.

Dr. Karen Wawrousek earned her PhD in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics program at the California Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory focusing on biohydrogen production. Prior to joining the Chemical Engineering faculty at the University of Wyoming, Dr. Wawrousek was a Lead Scientist in the Waste & Environmental Management Division at Western Research Institute, where she was the technical lead on projects for the bioconversion of various wastes, including carbon dioxide, to value-added products. At the University of Wyoming, the Wawrousek lab examines potential uses of microorganisms for production of chemicals or bioremediation applications, with a focus on metabolic engineering approaches to enhance the microorganisms’ native abilities.

Dr. John Hoberg is a synthetic organic/organometallic chemist who obtained his PhD at Montana State University. Prior to coming to the University of Wyoming, he worked at the National Renewable Energy Lab and Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. His research group focuses on two separate areas, one that involves light-driven metal catalysis and the second is in the area of nitrogen containing graphitic materials (NCGMs). His research in metal catalysis centers on the design of new metal ligands for photo absorption of light by one metal that promotes metal catalyzed reactions by a second metal. His focus is on the use of rhodium and iridium metals as the photosensitizers and pyridine based ligands in these studies.

Dr. Dongmei (Katie) Li completed her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder on the topic of membrane formation via thermal-induced phase separation with Professors Bill Krantz, Alan Greenberg and Robert Sani. Previously, she received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Shandong University (previously Shandong University of Technology) and an MS in Chemical Engineering from Tianjin University in China. Her postdoctoral studies, at CU, Boulder, focused upon surface modification of catalytic surfaces for selective sensing of hydrogen. Dr. Li has also worked in industry with Intel Corporation and DRC Metrographics, leading multi-million dollar projects in process and product development in areas of critical layers of multicore chips and implantable glucose sensors for diabetes management. Dr. Li joined the faculty of the University of Wyoming’s Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department in 2011 and formed the Advanced Energy Materials Laboratory, which focuses upon synthesis of nanomaterials used for catalytic and separation processes relevant to energy recovery, conversion and associated topics. Her current research interests revolve around membranes with nanostructured catalytic materials, including catalytic and functional membranes for water treatment and ionic liquid recovery, nanocatalysts for hydrogen production and fuel cell applications. Dr. Li received Intel Fab Award twice and has been a recipient of the NASA Space Grant Faculty Fellowship and Anadarko Faculty Fellowship.

Dr. David M. Bagley is a professor of chemical and environmental engineering at the University of Wyoming. He completed his B.S. in chemical and petroleum-refining engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and his M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Cornell University. Dr. Bagley has worked at The Procter and Gamble Company and as an environmental engineer with CH2M Hill Inc. Prior to joining the University of Wyoming in 2005, Dr. Bagley taught in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. At UW, he has served as Head of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering (2007-2010) and Head of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering (2011-2015). His research focus is sustainable wastewater treatment. He examines anaerobic microbial processes that produce hydrogen and methane from organic constituents, membrane processes for removing trace organic contaminants, and advanced biological treatment systems. He was awarded the Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal in 2000 by the Water Environment Federation for his research and has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles. Dr. Bagley is a licensed professional engineer in Wyoming (#11337), Florida (#47731) and Ontario, Canada (#90454570).

Mr. Scott Quillinan is a Senior Hydrogeologist for the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming and a licensed Professional Geologist (PG-3824). Quillinan’s research focuses on the interconnections between energy resource production and groundwater resources. Quillinan has worked with groundwater challenges associated with the production of coal, coal bed methane, oil and gas, hydraulic fracturing and CO2 sequestration. Specifically, his research interests include; predicting and identifying water/rock geochemical reactions, isotopic groundwater tracing, characterization of rare earth element and high value materials, identifying aquifer/reservoir mixing, efficient reservoir dewatering techniques, and potential beneficial use for produced waters.

Dr. Fred McLaughlin is the Senior Petrologist for the University of Wyoming Carbon Management Institute within the School of Energy Resources. He has primarily worked on the petrogenesis of Rocky Mountain uplifts and basins and associated energy resources. Areas of research include isotopic and geochemical evolution of basement and sedimentary rocks and groundwater, natural gas, uranium and coal systems, and the reservoir evolution. Recently, McLaughlin has worked to characterize the geochemical components of hydrocarbon reservoirs and produced brines in Wyoming. He is a licensed professional geologist in the State of Wyoming, and has many years of project management experience.

Our Scientific Advisory Board

In addition to our research team, we have formed a scientific advisory board, which we are looking to expand. Our board includes representatives from industry, governmental, outside academic institutions, the citizenry, and other stakeholders. The advisory board will provide input and guidance to ensure that CEPWM activities remain of highest relevance to the needs of our constituents.

Dept. Civil & Architectural Engineering 1000 E. University Avenue, Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-5446 info@CEPWM.com