Removal of radioactive radium from hydrofracking flowback water
Motivation: The recent expansion in natural gas production from shale reservoirs (fracking) produces large volumes of high-salinity wastewater. In particular, the treatment of its radium (Ra) content is challenging because it co-precipitates with barite. This high amount of low-level radioactive sludge must be properly disposed of. To reduce disposal cost and enhance recovery of water, we propose new ways to remove Ra from shale-gas produced brines.
Mcubed: This cube combines the expertise from Civil and Environmental Engineering (Ellis, Hayes) and Earth and Environmental Sciences (Becker) in environmental chemistry and molecular modeling to develop efficient tools for radium removal. Mcubed would be crucial to some preliminary feasibility testing of key concepts such as functionalization of adsorber resins and theoretical modeling of selective radium complexation. A subsequent NSF proposal would be much stronger with these preliminary data.
Presented to the Geophysical Union, Ann Arbor, MI
Published in Environmental Engineering Science