This study examined the performance of a novel hybrid system of forward osmosis (FO) combined with vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) for reclaiming water from shale gas drilling flow-back fluid (SGDF). In the hybrid FO-VMD system, water permeated through the FO membrane into a draw solution reservoir, and the VMD process was used for draw solute recovery and clean water production. Using a SGDF sample obtained from a drilling site in China, the hybrid system could achieve almost 90% water recovery. Quality of the reclaimed water was comparable to that of bottled water. In the hybrid FO-VMD system, FO functions as a pre-treatment step to remove most contaminants and constituents that may foul or scale the membrane distillation (MD) membrane, whereas MD produces high quality water. It is envisioned that the FO-VMD system can recover high quality water not only from SGDF but also other wastewaters with high salinity and complex compositions.
Water reclamation from shale gas drilling flow-back fluid using a novel forward osmosis–vacuum membrane distillation hybrid system
Xue-Mei Li, Baolong Zhao, Zhouwei Wang, Ming Xie, Jianfeng Song, Long D. Nghiem, Tao He, Chi Yang, Chunxia Li, Gang Chen; Water reclamation from shale gas drilling flow-back fluid using a novel forward osmosis–vacuum membrane distillation hybrid system. Water Sci Technol 1 March 2014; 69 (5): 1036–1044. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2014.003
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