One environmental challenge of extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale has been treatment of the "flowback water" that rises to the surface during the fracking process.
Now CONSOL Energy
, based in Pittsburgh, has made an initial $500,000 investment to acquire a minority stake in Epiphany Solar Water Systems
, a small company in New Castle. CONSOL will also provide one of its Marcellus gas well locations in Greene County to test Epiphany's proprietary, solar-powered, water purification system. Epiphany has doubled its staff to 10 to accommodate the project.
"During this pilot test," says Tom Joseph, Epiphany's founder and CEO, "Epiphany will work to determine the potential of our technology to lower the cost of energy needed to process wastewater by using alternative energy, reduce the risk of waste disposal by processing water on-site and recovering the resultant water, salt, minerals and disposable waste materials, minimize the volume of materials that must be transported off-site for safe disposal, and reduce the amount of truck traffic associated with this aspect of development."
"This is the tip of the iceberg," says Epiphany's Jaclene Joseph. "Although huge in terms of specific industry potential, Epiphany's technology is applicable to virtually all facets of water supply regardless of industry."
Founded in 2009, Epiphany's goal is to make solar cost-competitive with conventionally powered water purification systems. Epiphany also runs Project Eviive
, a non-profit whose mission is to provide water desalination/purification systems throughout the developing world.
"Growth in the commercial sector," says Joseph, "will allow funding of units for deployment to underserved, underdeveloped nations."
Source: Jaclene Joseph, Epiphany Solar Water Systems
Writer: Elise Vider