Evaluation of Renewable Energy as Source of Power for Desalination of Oilfield Brines Conference Paper uri icon


  • A hybrid system of wind, solar, and diesel generators could provide an efficient alternative for powering water desalination projects in remote oilfield locations in Texas. Disposal of produced water from oil and gas wells is a costly procedure for production companies, but water-to-oil production ratios exceed 10:1 (by volume) at many wellsites. Much of the petroleum produced in the United States and elsewhere is found in arid regions that could benefit greatly if the produced water could be purified sufficiently for agricultural, industrial, or potable use. Our previous research identified and validated treatment options capable of recovering a high proportion of fresh water from oilfield brine. In this paper we further the earlier research by examining the possibility of using renewable energy to power the units in "off the power grid" situations. A macro-driven spreadsheet was created to allow for quick and easy cost comparisons of renewable energy sources for a variety of scenarios. Using this tool, wind and solar costs were compared for cities in regions throughout Texas. The renewable energy resource showing the greatest potential was wind power, with the analysis showing that in windy regions such as the Texas Panhandle, wind-generated power costs are lower than those generated with diesel fuel. Copyright 2009, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

author list (cited authors)

  • Barrufet, M. A., & Mareth, B. C.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • January 2009


  • SPE  Publisher