(50f) Treatment of Produced Water Using Microbial Fuel Cells

Borole, A. P., Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Tsouris, C., Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Sustainable utilization of natural energy sources in the future will require development of technologies with minimal impact on the environment. Produced water generated from oil and gas production operations currently generate 10 times more water than the amount of fossil fuel produced. In order to develop sustainable operation, the produced water needs to be either recycled or disposed into the environment as clean water. The current practice of produced water reinjection into the subsurface is not sustainable. Use of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) for enabling water recycle and reducing the energy required for treating produced water will be discussed. MFCs convert organic carbon and wastes into energy using naturally occurring and regenerable microbial catalysts. Effect of contaminants in produced water, namely salts and organics on MFCs and strategies to overcome them will be presented. As we look towards a future with restricted carbon release, while still being able to use fossil fuels, developing technologies minimizing impact on climate change and environment is of utmost importance. Reducing energy required for produced water treatment and enabling water reuse are two important components as we continue to use these resources in the future.