TRC

Solar-Powered Hydrocarbon Recovery

TRC developed a plan that limited disturbance of subsurface utilities and worked around existing operations, while taking advantage of existing monitoring wells to install solar-powered skimmers to recover LNAPL.

Industries

Client

Confidential Natural Gas Plant

Project Location

Wyoming

TRC was retained to address hydrocarbons that were inadvertently released from a natural gas processing facility in Wyoming. These constituents formed a light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) layer on the underlying groundwater, which flows through a complex network of fractured bedrock. Any remedial action needed to be implemented with limited access to plant facilities and without disrupting on-going operations. The remedial system would also need to withstand extremely hot and cold weather conditions.

Using existing hydrogeological information, TRC developed a detailed site conceptual model to understand the LNAPL transport behavior and identify optimal product recovery locations. A plan that limited disturbance of subsurface utilities and worked around existing operations was submitted to the state agency. Following approval from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ), TRC took advantage of existing monitoring wells to install solar-powered skimmers to recover the LNAPL.

TRC’s approach allowed the client to keep processing natural gas and generating revenue while remediation was performed. Additionally, the use of solar-powered skimmers was less costly than constructing a more elaborate recovery system. Since 2011, over 1,500 gallons of LNAPL have successfully been recovered while minimizing the project’s environmental footprint and strengthening the client’s proactive reputation and working relationship with the state agency. Additional benefits of this sustainable remediation strategy included:

  • Health and Safety: The solar skimmers were factory fabricated and installed without excavation. This eliminated potential health and safety incidents from using large construction equipment and potential contact with subsurface utilities.
  • Reduced Energy Consumption: The remote, self-sustaining solar-powered units significantly optimized project and energy savings by using renewable energy and eliminating the need for connections to the facility’s power and compressed air lines. This reduced energy costs and decreased installation time by eliminating excavation activities.
  • Air Quality: Air emissions were significantly reduced during installation by not using large construction equipment. TRC also trained local facility personnel to maintain the system, which minimized commuting costs and vehicle emissions to the remote facility.
  • Waste Reduction/Reuse: The solar-skimmers are standalone systems that can be easily reused and relocated without the need for additional fabrication or construction activities. This reduced the consumption of raw materials and costs associated with fabricating additional LNAPL recovery systems.

See related services

Sustainable Remediation

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