The Department of Energy recently awarded a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering a $1.76 million grant to study technology that may reduce the amount of fresh water used by natural gas drillers to fracture shale, according to Trib Total Media LLC.

The team of researchers plans to conduct pilot tests of a membrane distillation technology, which is a new method of treating hydrofracturing wastewater. The researchers will also be looking into how to leverage the waste heat available at drilling sites and natural gas compressor stations to safely treat shale gas wastewater for reuse.

The University of Pittsburgh is partnering with Pittsburgh-based EQT, a natural gas company, and Aquatech International LLC, a wastewater treatment and recycling and reuse company based in Canonsburg, along with firms in Boston and Virginia.

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