Produced waters contain a myriad of valuable resources, such as minerals, precious metals, and rare earth elements (REEs) in addition to the water itself. Our mission is to develop schemes and technologies to extract these resources, or to concentrate them into forms that can be refined, in economically viable manners.
Achieving our mission involves:
- Identifying and quantifying the resources, specifically precious metals and REEs, in produced waters representing a spectrum of formation geologies, ages, and other characteristics. This information is being used to identify produced water sources that are viable candidates for resource development.
- Developing resource extraction technologies, including rotary MF/UF, precipitation, and crystallization, to assess the practical and economic viability of resource recovery.
- Characterize benefits of increase in drinking water inflow associated with average amount of produced water
- Design a demonstration facility to validate and assess resource recovery technology(s) that have demonstrated promise in bench-scale evaluations.
LED BY: WILLIAM BELLAMY
CONTRIBUTING RESEARCHERS: JONATHAN BRANT, CHUCK MASON, JOHN HOBERG
Some examples of the research we can provide:
- Water quality analysis of complex solution chemistries and compositions. Our analytical lab is equipped with IC, ICP-MS, and GCMS with HPLC for characterizing the inorganic and organic constituents. Our ICP-MS is capable of quantifying and discerning between dissolved and nanoparticulate forms of precious metals and REEs.
- Feasibility studies for precious metal and REE extraction from produced waters and other brines. These studies include bench- and pilot-scale evaluations of membrane processes, evaporation/crystallization, co-precipitation, liquid-liquid extraction and other physicochemical processes.
- Process and economic modeling to identify price points and feasibility of precious metal and REE recovery.
Resource Potential and Techno-Economic Assessment of Rare Earth Element (REE) Recovery from Oil Field Brines
What we’re doing: Deep saline brines—a by-product of oil and natural gas production—are a new, unconventional source of minerals, precious metals, and rare earth elements. In Wyoming alone, over two billion barrels of brine are produced annually during oil and gas operations. In this project, we are working with the Carbon Management Institute at the University of Wyoming to identify the types and quantities of precious metals and REEs in produced waters across Wyoming. Additionally, we are identifying and evaluating different separation technologies for recovering these materials in a form that is suitable for refining. This information will allow us to determine the potential for developing a new market for the energy industry through the resourceful repurposing of a substantial waste stream.
Resource Potential and Techno-Economic Assessment of Rare Earth Element (REE) Recovery from Oil Field Brines.