Saltwater disposal. Irrigation. Drying rivers. Can this machine solve these problems?
MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - It might seem counterintuitive, but the question that plagues the West Texas energy industry isn’t what to do with all the oil but rather what to do with all the water.
For every barrel of oil pulled out of the ground, up to ten barrels of water come with it. That water contains a Who’s Who of dangerous periodic elements from arsenic to radium.
A company out of Wyoming believes it might have a solution from a 20-year-old piece of technology.
“If we don’t do something, our kids aren’t going to have water to drink,” said Jaime Roman, a consultant for Encore Green, which believes it has a potential solution for the pr.
It’s called “The Nomad”, a reference to its ability to be easily transported from one site to another, and it converts produced-oilfield water, often referred to as brine, into usable water.
“So, we’re looking at taking oilfield wastewater, treating it, and irrigating it,” said Roman. “So, actually using the wastewater to grow crops.”
It’s an idea that attacks two areas of need: how to stop the billions of gallons of water disposal that cause earthquakes and contaminate aquifers and help conserve water used for irrigation.
That has West Texas farmers like Cody Wilson crossing their fingers.
“Expectations are low,” Wilson admitted. “Hope is high.”
Wilson’s farm is in Midkiff, TX, just north of Rankin. The recent drought and increased water usage for irrigation have him worried for the future of his farm and family.
“If we don’t find an additional fresh-water source to irrigate with, farming in our area will eventually come to a halt,” Wilson said.
There are also people like Ira Yates, a dreamer who see machines like The Nomad as a way to help replenish struggling waterways like the Pecos River.
“Sometimes, a little help can come from the places you don’t suspect,” he said.
The long-term future of the Nomad is unknown, but coming up with potential solutions is a start. It will need tinkering, but it’s all bound by the fact that the way things are can not be the way things will be.
“Let’s take a waste and make it where it’s beneficial,” Roman said.
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