In 2019 Comtech, along with our partner Saltworks Technologies, executed two successful pilot projects in the Appalachian Basin demonstrating the merits of environmentally friendly produced water evaporation. As of June 24th, a full-scale permit exemption has been granted for the deployment of full-scale systems.
The pilot projects took place at live shale sites and demonstrated the Saltworks AirBreather (AB-100) system’s unique ability to concentrate produced water, while not generating a freshwater stream for discharge, and doing so with zero direct contact of produced water with atmosphere. To our understanding, this was first-of-its kind and first in the world, employing a novel modification to industrialized technologies. The pilot further proved safe operations on sour high TDS water, while having over 97% up-time, and running unattended overnight.
The AirBreather AB-100 system is designed to evaporate oil and gas produced water without allowing any contact with the atmosphere, mitigating emissions concerns. This environmentally friendly evaporation solution processes and manages particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) such that emissions are considered minor significance and therefore qualifies for exemption from operating permit or plan approval (in accordance with 25 PA Code 127.14). Assuming an ~200,000 mg/L TDS feed, one AB-100 system is capable of processing ~1,200 barrels of produced water at inlet and concentrating it up by two times, leaving only 600 barrels of concentrated brine requiring disposal. Our evaporative technology is scalable, meaning that we can add additional systems in parallel to accommodate increased inlet flow rates as necessary.
Since completion of these two successful pilot projects, the Comtech/Saltworks team has worked diligently with regional regulatory bodies and stakeholders to permit the first full-scale deployment of the Air Breather technology within the Marcellus and Utica Shale. We are proud to announce that the Air Quality Department from the North Central Regional Office of the PADEP has provided us with the green light to move forward toward full-scale deployment, in addition to extremely positive and supportive commentary on the technological approach. On June 4th, 2020, the PADEP provided Comtech with a letter of approval on the exemption of our wastewater evaporation process. This exemption from plan approval will allow for the immediate deployment of the AB-100 system on an OG71 location, where we are operationally approved to concentrate produced water volumes from a single operator’s multiple well locations for subsequent reuse or disposal.
With a demonstrated path for approval with the PADEP, we can now make both the technology and permitting pathway available to our clients for the effective deployment of our produced water management technology. Should you wish to learn more about this path for deploying environmentally friendly, approved evaporation technology, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Comtech team.