OU Institute Receives $2 Million For Fracking Wastewater Research

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The Ohio University Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment has been awarded $2 million in state and federal grants to conduct research about wastewater produced from hydraulic fracturing.

The Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) donated $1.9 million to the institute, and both Ohio Third Frontier and the OU Office of Technology put forth $50,000 grants towards the project.

Jason Trembly, associate director of the Ohio Coal Research Center, said the goal of the project is to create a process that cleans fracking wastewater to make it reusable.

"We take that flow back produced water, remove those constituents that prevent it from being reused so that we have a reusable product so that rather than it being shipped to this injection well, it stays in the shale field," he said.

Less shipping can mean reducing costs by 40 percent for drilling companies, and less truck traffic on roads – a potential benefit for Ohioans, and an opportunity for OU to impact the community.

"It's going to highlight on a national level what we're actually doing here at Russ College. It's great to know that we can impact technology to help out our community for the better," Trembly said.

The project isn't expected to solely benefit Ohio. Trembly said samples of flow back water from companies like Bakken, Marcellus and Eagle-Ford will be collected to individualize the process for different areas nationwide.

The project is expected to take about two years to complete.