Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Clausen, Edgar C.

Committee Member/Reader

Penney, William Roy.


Natural gas is useful in several different applications from chemical feed stock, to energy and fuel source. In the past it has been too expensive to be properly taken advantage of, but in recent years technology advancements have made it a rather cheap commodity. However, these advancements, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, come at an additional cost. They require massive amounts of water, approximately 7,000,000 gallons per well drilled. After use, this water is laden with salts and dangerous hydrocarbons. In order for the water to be recycled or reused, both components must be removed. Reverse osmosis membranes are commonly used to remove salts but, unfortunately, the hydrocarbons foul reverse osmosis membranes making them impossible to use without an effective pretreatment to remove the hydrocarbons. The solution outlined in this proposal removes hydrocarbons that could be present in several different forms in the fraccing return water, allowing reverse osmosis to be a valid option for removing salts. This technology would allow water to be recycled and its strategic implementation would significantly decrease the number of trucks required to transfer water within the natural gas industry.