Energy from Oil Industry Wastewater

The pilot project led by University of North Dakota shows that it's possible to generate geothermal electricity from the boiling water

"We've been advocating for many years to do what we'll call the hot sedimentary-style geothermal, which is really no more than taking what the oil and gas companies are already producing and running it through a little turbine right at their site."

Canada produces huge amounts of geothermal power, but so far none of it is being used to generate electricity, Thompson said.

"We just actually bring up all that potential to the surface and then do nothing with it. It's actually treated as a waste or a cost to the company." She equates the waste to the gas flaring that was common across Alberta until stricter regulations came in 2000.

She says either higher carbon pricing or more regulation would encourage companies to try the technology, but there isn't enough incentive now.

Will Gosnold, a researcher at the University of North Dakota who is leading the pilot project, said that during the shale boom in recent years no one was interested in fiddling with extra equipment, but with oil prices low, companies are looking at any way to save money.

Source: The StarPhoenix

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