What is the relationship between Hydrozonix and Ecosphere Technologies, Inc.?
Hydrozonix, LLC is an entirely separate entity from Ecosphere with different owners, managers, and staff. Hydrozonix, LLC has a non-exclusive sub-license from Ecosphere Energy Services, LLC, a subsidiary of Ecosphere Technologies, Inc., to purchase, market, deploy, and operate Ozonix water treatment systems in oil and gas exploration and production in onshore areas of the United States. In short, Ecosphere will manufacture Ozonix systems; Hydrozonix will buy them and put them to work.
How does Ozonix work?
Ozonix is a chemical-free, high-volume advanced oxidation system designed to reduce chemicals during fracturing operations while enabling oil and gas producers to recycle flowback and produced water. The three elements of Ozonix (ozone, cavitation, and electrochemistry) act synergistically to kill bacteria and inhibit scale-causing properties in water.
Elements of Ozonix:
- Ozone: A powerful oxidant applied to water as a gas, which is generated onsite by passing oxygen across an electric field.
- Cavitation: Generation, subsequent growth and collapse of cavities releasing large amounts of energy. Cavitation aids in ozone mass transfer and hydroxyl radical generation. A hydroxyl radical is a highly-reactive and nonselective oxidant.
- Electrochemistry: Electricity serves two primary purposes in Ozonix: 1) it aids in the creation of hydroxyl radicals, and 2) it aids in precipitation of scale-forming salts like calcium carbonate.
Does Ozonix work?
Prior to the EF80 system, the Ozonix technology has been tested, deployed, and commercialized in several shale plays, treating more than 16 million barrels of fluid in a three-year period for various customers.
What makes Ozonix different from other water treatment systems?
Ozonix is unique because of a combination of problems it solves for the oil and gas industry in one environmentally-friendly, economic package.
- Chemical Elimination: The Ozonix process is used during fracturing operations “on the fly.” It effectively replaces two chemicals commonly used in hydraulic fracturing: biocide and scale inhibitor. It also significantly improves friction reducer compatibility with high-TDS fluids.
- Fluid Recycling: The oil and gas industry desires to reuse flowback and produced fluid. In order to do so, it must find effective, economical treatment with simplified logistics. Ozonix provides a “just in time” solution to allow producers to do just that. We treat frac fluid after it’s been blended; just before it goes downhole.
- Zero Waste: There is zero waste from the Ozonix process, whereas other water treatment processes create a highly-contaminated waste stream.
How does Hydrozonix charge for water treatment using the Ozonix technology?
Hydrozonix will custom-tailor a pricing structure once we understand the problem the customer is facing.
Does the Ozonix EF80 remove chlorides from water?
No. The Ozonix technology targets the three issues operators must address when recycling challenging flowback or produced fluid: bacteria, scale and chemical compatibility with other frac additives. Chlorides have very little ill effect on the fracturing process. In fact, the sodium and potassium normally dissolved with chlorides in recycled fluids have a positive effect on the formation, inhibiting clay movement and swelling. In fact, many operators pay to add potassium chloride to frac fluid for clay stabilization. Hydrozonix offers a solution that allows operators to recycle flowback and produced fluid, offsetting the harmful effects of analytes in the fluid, while allowing the chloride compounds (i.e., sodium chloride and potassium chloride) in the fluid to pass through, providing natural clay stabilization.
The multivalent cations in recycled fluid have a detrimental effect on the frac. Cations like calcium, barium, strontium and iron can interfere with friction reducer and gel, and contribute to scale deposition in tubulars and in the formation. The Ozonix technology accelerates the process of precipitation in the main reactor during treatment, forming a neutralized scale particle, which remains in suspension in the effluent. These scale particles remain stable in changing environments (pH, temperature, pressure) and do not form scale downhole.
Also, chlorides and bromides present in the water produce hypochlorite and hypobromite during the electro-oxidation process. These oxidants kill bacteria and assist in sterilizing the effluent.
How does the Ozonix EF80 inhibit scale?
The Ozonix EF80 inhibits scale through electrochemical precipitation. The oxidation reaction takes place at the anode, which is positively charged, and the reduction reaction takes place at the cathode, which is negatively charged. Divalent cations combine with CO2 and SO2 generated from the oxidation of organic material.
These precipitated hardness salts are then broken into smaller suspended particles in the processand passed through the system. These salt particles are chemically inert, suspended in solution, and will no longer contribute to scale deposition or interference of other chemical additives used during fracturing operations (such as gels or friction reducers.
How does the Ozonix EF80 kill bacteria?
The Ozonix EF80 attacks bacteria through a multi-pronged oxidative treatment. First, ozone is injected into the fluid stream as the primary oxidant. Ozone is a strong oxidant that destroys microbial cell walls. In addition to ozone injection, hydrodynamic and acoustic cavitation are used to assist in destroying bacteria biofilms and segmenting bacteria colonies. This provides greater surface area for oxidation to occur.
Once an ozone molecule oxidizes a bacteria cell it leaves behind oxygen (O2) in the fluid. This oxygen then passes through an electrical and ultrasonic field creating highly reactive hydroxyl radicals.Hydroxyl radicals continue to react with organic material in the water. The electrical field itself is a strong oxidizer, breaking down and destroying bacteria cell walls.
Chlorides and bromides form hypochlorite and hypobromite during this process. These compounds continue to assist microbial control in the fluid long after initial treatment.
How does the Ozonix-treated fluid interact with friction reducer?
Ozonix-treated fluid interacts notably better with friction reducer than untreated fluid. The most common type of friction reducer is a negatively charged (anionic) polyacrylamide. Because of its negative charge, this friction reducer is adversely impacted by multivalent cations like calcium, barium and iron.
Ozonix oxidizes or precipitates iron and divalent cations that would otherwise interfere with friction reducer. In essence, the same drivers that cause the Ozonix process to inhibit scale also cause anionic friction reducers to interact more favorabl with Ozonix-treated fluid.
Certain biocides interfere with the efficacy of friction reducing chemicals. Since there is no need to add biocide to fluid treated by Ozonix, there is no biocide to interfere with friction reducer.
These cumulative effects of the Ozonix process work in harmony to provide better pumping performance with challenging fluid.
How does Hydrozonix ensure that reactive ozone is not passed along to hydraulic fracturing equipment or to steel casing downhole?
Ozone is only used as a primary oxidant. The level of ozone injected into the fluid is tightly controlled by a PID (Proportional, Integral and Derivative) control loop preventing the injection of excess ozone. Sensors located at various stages of the process allow the PLC (Programmable logic controller) to monitor the performance of the oxidation process to assure quality treatment while also prohibiting excessive injection of ozone.
Also, components of the main reactor and piping system help generate acoustic and hydrodynamic cavitation which in turn produce multiple oxidants thus limiting the demand for ozone in the treatment.
The Ozonix technology has been used on close to 500 fracs and customers have observed no degradation to frac equipment or casing.
What effect does the Ozonix EF80 have on iron in the fluid?
The Ozonix EF80 oxidizes iron (Fe) into iron oxide (Fe2O3). As with other precipitated salts, the EF80 does not remove this oxidated iron from the fluid. Rather, the iron oxide remains in the fluid, inactive and inert, and is pumped downhole.
What effect does the Ozonix EF80 have on hydrocarbons in the fluid?
The Ozonix EF80 oxidizes hydrocarbon compounds. Tests have shown a reduction of 400 mg/L of hydrocarbon compounds down to less than 40 mg/L with one pass. Hydrocarbons are generally oxidized into CO2 and H2O.
How does Hydrozonix know that it inhibits scale in treated fluids?
There are various tools available to predict the scaling tendency of different fluids. Each has its benefits and limitations. After extensive research, Hydrozonix concluded that the dynamic tube-blocking test is the most dependable way of quantifying the impact the Ozonix process has on the scaling tendency of fluid. The tube-blocking test is an industry accepted laboratory test used to assess the effective dosage for scale inhibiting chemicals. Each fluid is pumped through a 1/16” tube at a constant rate. The inlet and outlet pressures of the line are monitored. If the differential pressure between the inlet and outlet lines increases over time, then scale is depositing in the tube. If the differential pressure remains relatively constant over time, then the water is not displaying scaling tendency. Reservoir temperature can be mimicked during the test to ensure replication of reservoir conditions.
Hydrozonix and its partner, Ecosphere, have conducted tube-blocking tests on flowback and produced fluids from the Marcellus, Fayetteville, Woodford, Wolfberry, and Eagle Ford shales and all tests have shown dramatic reductions in scaling tendency from untreated to treated fluid. Some of those results can be found at http://www.hydrozonix.com/information-center/downloads/test-results-sheets.
How does Ozonix-treated fluid interact with linear and cross-linked gels?
The Ozonix technology has been successfully used on numerous gel fracs. The positive effect it has on bacteria and scale-causing analytes in the fluid relates to a net positive effect on the treated fluid interaction with different gel types.
What are Hydrozonix’s quality assurance and control practices?
Hydrozonix is committed to providing quality water treatment. Hydrozonix conducts two vital quality assurance practices:
Bacteria Treatment: Hydrozonix monitors oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) while treating fluid. This real-time parameter, measured in millivolts, provides feedback on the quality of bacteria treatment. Hydrozonix has captured overwhelming data supporting a correlation between ORP measured during treatment and bacteria enumeration laboratory analysis of treated fluid.
Scale Treatment: Scale inhibition is a function of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the fluid. Upon entering an operational area, Hydrozonix conducts extensive studies on the scale inhibition effect the Ozonix technology has on waters with varying TDS levels. The Ozonix technology was designed to inhibit scale in waters containing approximately 60,000 mg/L of TDS. Hydrozonix provides treatment of the final blend of completion fluid, so this means that an operator could blend 120,000 mg/L TDS produced fluid at a 1:1 ratio with fresh water and safely frac with the fluid after treatment with the Ozonix process.
For quality control, Hydrozonix takes samples and has them analyzed by third-party laboratories:
Bacteria Treatment: Ozonix-treated fluids are tested for bacteria in third-party laboratories using the bacteria enumeration method based on Standard Methods 9221C, or the Most Probable Number Technique. This is more commonly known in the oilfield as “Serial Dilution” or “Bug Bottles”. This is a dependable method for ensuring Ozonix-treated fluid meets the customer’s standard for bacteria levels in frac fluid.
Scale Treatment: Ozonix-treated fluids are tested for scaling tendency in third-party laboratories using the tube-blocking test. This is a very straightforward laboratory technique involving a flow loop that provides dependable feedback on the scaling tendency of treated fluid. The tube-blocking test is described in more detail in another FAQ.
Is the process limited by any particular constituent (i.e. TDS, TSS, Chlorides, Organics, etc.)?
The treatment efficacy is a function of the treatment rate and the level of constituents in the fluid. The treatment of organics, to include bacteria and hydrocarbons, is designed to provide adequate bacteria treatment at 80 barrels per minute of extremely challenging produced fluid mixed at a 1:1 ratio with “fresh” surface water.
The treatment of scale is a function of total dissolved solids (TDS). Once successful treatment is demonstrated with water of a certain TDS level at a certain rate, the Ozonix treatment system will replicate that performance time and time again.
Ozonix has been used on produced waters in the Marcellus, Haynesville, Woodford, Fayetteville, Eagle Ford, and Permian Basin with no indication of limitations.
Is the process regulated by any state or federal agency?
No. We do not require any permits above and beyond those typically applicable to the drilling and completion process.