The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) invites public comment about the technical issues needed 1) to make treated and untreated produced water available for non-oilfield and oilfield use and 2) to reduce the volume of oilfield flowback and produced water disposed of in salt water disposal wells within the Permian Basin, by promoting its beneficial use in the oilfield or its use within other industries. The goal is to transform the produced water from a waste to a resource.

Through a potential prize competition, DOE would seek demonstrations of higher technology readiness level (TRL) technologies that treat produced water for use within other industries or demand centers outside oil and natural gas operations.

The intent is to encourage oil and natural gas exploration and production companies, field service companies, technology developers, research laboratories or institutes, state and local government agencies and other stakeholders to qualify their field-ready prototypes for rigorous testing to demonstrate their potential. Proposed advanced treatment systems will need to have matured beyond prototype system design and validation and be ready to move to a state of near full-scale deployment (i.e., move through TRL 8, defined in RFI).

The RFI is a part of the Water Security Grand Challenge, which aims to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water. It utilizes prizes, competitions, early- and late-stage research and development and other programs. Among other goals, the Water Security Grand Challenge aims to accelerate research, development and deployment of cost-effective treatment of produced water. That water can assist water-stressed regions by creating alternative sources for agricultural use, mineral extraction and processing and other industrial operations, while creating new revenue for the extraction industry through water sales.

Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to with the subject line “Water Security Grand Challenge Produced Water Treatment RFI” no later than 8:00pm (ET) on December 9, 2020.


Read the complete RFI document here.