Undergraduate Research Highlight – Produced Water Treatment Research

June 15, 2021

Clayton DickersonDr. Maryam Mirabolghasemi, an assistant professor in the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, and Clayton Dickerson, a recent graduate with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, created a case study of oilwell produced water treatment, comparing the economics of modern treatment technologies and beneficial reuse of the high-salinity water to the deep well disposal that is the industry norm. This research was funded by the Bagley College of Engineering and Department of Research & Economic Development at Mississippi State University. Using water data from the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environmental Lab site in Morgantown, West Virginia, we compared the relative effectiveness between High Pressure Reverse Osmosis, Direct Contact Membrane Desalination, and Electrodialysis to reduce the total dissolved solids (TDS) of high salinity water. The results demonstrate the importance of location in produced water management, with disposal and reuse both increasing in cost as the disposal/reuse sites are located farther away from the production well. Also, the quality of the water played a role in the economic viability of different technologies, some becoming more economically viable as salinity properties changed and others losing viability with the presence of high organic loads. To find out more, check out the conference paper that we wrote for the April 2021 SPE Western Regional Meeting at the following link:

A Comparative Produced Water Management Decision Making WorkFlow: MSEEL Case Study


By: Clayton Dickerson, 2020-2021 AIChE Co-President

Maryam Mirabolghasemi