GOALI: EAGER: CBET EE: Separating Salts from Water by Applying Supercharged Pulsed Jet Combustor to Hydrofracturing Water

  • Cannon, Fred Scott (PI)
  • Cortopassi, Andrew Claude (CoPI)
  • Boyer, J. Eric J.E. (CoPI)
  • Wunz, Christopher C. (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details




Hydrofracturing is a relatively new area with respect to shale-gas extraction. It holds the promise for the US becoming an energy exporter; however, it is also possible that the extraction of shale gas and the methods used for extracting shale gas may adversely impact water resources in the US. Therefore, it is extremely important that technologies to treat/remediate the process and produced water be found. An important aspect of Environmental Engineering and associated programs, is to insure that every effort is made to minimize adverse environmental impact from hydrofracturing. This proposal addresses a new technology to minimize adverse environmental impact.

The team will separate salts from water by applying a supercharged pulsed jet (SPJ) to hydrofracturing water. This water may be either process or produced water. The process, once developed fully will be simple, as the SPJ system is merely of a 3-foot long tube, consisting of a rapidly alternating air-fuel intake, and a brine discharge nozzle. This SPJ system will help American energy-independence, with new hydrofracturing in PA, TX, WY, CO, WV, LA, and other places, thus, it will have applications in many states.

In preliminary tests with this SPJ, the research team processed hydrofracturing water (i.e., brine) that contained 12.6 % solids. From this, the team captured 60 % of the brine?s salts onto a steel mesh. Also, the water was atomized into a mist while using just 17 % of the energy needed to ideally boil water at 1 atm pressure.

With respect to the broader impacts of this project the PI will continue to serve as the PI of Penn State's Sloan Minority Scholarship Program. This Sloan program will provide a year's funding to 16 Minority Ph. D. students in STEM disciplines during the course of the project.

Effective start/end date4/1/146/30/16


  • National Science Foundation: $140,000.00


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