During drilling and production operations, referred to as the “upstream” phase of the oil and natural gas industry, water is often found in the same formations as the oil and gas being extracted. This produced water constitutes a significant volume of the produced fluid and has previously been considered as a waste product. Increasingly, however, with local water scarcity and the costs associated with transport, disposal and re-injection, produced water has become a salvageable potable commodity that can be reused to enhance operating economics. Environmental standards, both onshore and offshore, generally dictate the necessary treatment of produced water in order to be discharged or injected back into the formation.

Produced water properties vary widely and contain multiple contaminants that have to be dealt with for reuse, re-injection, or compliant disposal. The fluids contain residual hydrocarbons and high concentrations of suspended solids, organic materials, sulfides, iron, bacteria, silica, boron, and dissolved salts that may cause problems if not addressed.

To facilitate production from onshore shale formations using horizontal drilling techniques, large volumes of wate are injeced under high pressure to fracture the non-porous shale formation. Hydraulic fracturing can utilize as much as 1.2M barrels of water per well. The frac fluid can be a mix of previously-used water, produced water, potable water or groundwater. Once the well is put into production a massive volume of frac fluid flows back to the surface and may be treated for reuse or reinjection or hauled away for disposal.


Thincell’s Process – Stage 1-2

  • Suspended, stabilized and emulsified contaminants exist in fluid
  • Suspended and stabilized contaminants are destabilized, and break into smaller particles.  Emulsified fluids are de-emulsified
  • Bi-polar “Sacrificial Electrodes” release metal ions to form in-situ coagulant
  • Patented proprietary Anode and Cathode do NOT passivate

Thincell’s Process – Stage 3

  • Bi-Polar sacrificial electrodes completely dissolve
  • Contaminant particles react with in-situ coagulant and form floc.
  • Hydrogen and oxygen bubbles formed at the proprietary cathode and anode carry floc to top of chamber for downstream removal.

Thincell – “Unique Configuration Lowers Power Requirments”

  • Patented non-passivating anodes and cathodes – 6” spacing
  • Bi-polar Sacrificial electrodes are separated by water molecules ,resulting in low power requirements

While there are a variety of treatment methods for produced water and flowback fluids, electrochemical process that include principles of electrocoagulation have the proven ability to:

  • Break emulsions
  • Attack a wide range of pollutants with one technology
  • Remove suspended solids
  • Destroy bacteria and pathogens
  • Meet discharge requirements

Traditional Electrocoagulation’s downside, is anode and cathode passivation and scale buildup which can cause operating inefficiencies, premature shutdowns and higher electrical usage.

Water Vision’s Thincell Electrochemical technology adds a new dimension to water treatment. Thincell provides a cost-effective, on-site solution to contaminant removal. 


One Technology →Treats a Wide Range f Organic and Inorganic Contaminants Low Operating Costs → Minimal Maintenance, Low Power Requirements, No Electrode Passivation, replaces chemical treatment
Easily Integrates into Existing Treatment Systems Sacrificial Electrode → Common Household Waste
Compact, Modular, Scalable → Small to Large Process Volumes Eliminates or Reduces → Chemical Treatment and the addition of secondary pollutants
Efficient → Continuous treatment, Minimal Downtime Minimal Waste → Sacrificial Electrodes completely dissolves
Effective → Continuously Meets Effluent Goals Reduces HSE Risks → minimizes personnel handling, waste generation, and disposal

how does
thincell® technology work?

Outstanding Results in the Upstream Energy Industry

Upstream Energy Industry % Contaminants Removed
Oil & Grease TSS Turbidity Iron Bacteria Total Silica Boron
Produced Water – (Marcellus) 100% 100%
Produced Water- (East Texas) 94% 99% 94% 32%
Produced Water 97%
Frac Flowback and Produced Water 91%
Frac Flowback and Produced Water 99%
Frac Flowback and Produced Water 99%
Frac Flowback and Produced Water 81% 83%
Frac Flowback and Produced Water 81% 96%
Frac Flowback and Produced Water 99%
Slop Water 90% 84% 96% 90% 90%

Produced Water: Waste or Commodity?

Increasingly, due to local water scarcity, potable water costs, and transportation and disposal costs, produced water has become a salvageable potable commodity that can be reused to enhance operating economics.

What else can Thincell Handle?

Case study: Produced Water Treatment - Marcellus Basin

Produced Water Treatment

TSS and Turbidity Reduction

Thincell Treatment 73 gpm
Thincell Treatment 100 gpm
Feed Sample Thincell® 73 gpm Removal Efficiency Thincell® 100 gpm Removal Efficiency
Turbidity – NTU 360 0.5 99.8% 1.2 99.7%
Total Suspended Solids (TSS) – mg/l 200 <1 99.5% <1 99.5%

Case Study: Produced Water Treatment - Fayetteville

Heavy TSS, Bacterial Loading & Low Conductivity

Feed Sample Treated Water PW4 Removal Efficiency
Sodium – mg/l 6800 6700
Turbidity – NTU 34 5 85.3%
Total Suspended Solids (TSS) – mg/l 180 15 91.7%
Silica – (mg/l) 24 3 87.5%

Case Study: Pit/Slop Water - Fayetteville

Heavy TSS, Bacterial Loading & Low Conductivity

  1. The pit water had been stored for years and consisted of off spec produced water and facility slops
  2. Sulfide reducing bacterial population was high as illustrated by black feed water.
  3. Due to the low water conductivity, amperage was increased to provide a cleaner effluent
Feed Sample Nasty #0 Treated Water Nasty #5 Removal Efficiency Treated Water Nasty #8 Removal Efficiency
Amps 0 30 60
Sodium – mg/l 2400 2400 2400
Turbidity – NTU 31 44 5 83.9%
Total Suspended Solids (TSS) – mg/l 185 105 43.2% 18 90.3%
Silica – (mg/l) 9.1 4.3 52.7% 0.9 90.1%

Thincell 100 gpm Treatment Unit

#0 System Feed
#5 System Outlet 30 amps
#8 System Outlet 60 amps


Case Study: Emulsified Produced Water - Fayetteville

Suspended Solids and Oil and Grease Stabilized with Residual Polymer

Feed Sample Treated Water Removal Efficiency
Turbidity – NTU 370 4.6 98.8%
Total Suspended Solids (TSS) – mg/l 7.9 0.5 93.7%
Silica – (mg/l) 40 7 82.5%

Emulsified Produced Water Fayetteville

Suspended Solids and Oil and Grease Stabilized with Residual Polymer

Emulsified produced water stabilized with residual polymer and suspended solids leaving oil/water separator.

Case study: Produced Water Treatment - Southeast Texas

Produced water treatment – 250 gpm Southeast Texas: 98% reduction oil and grease

Emulsified produced water, iron, and suspended solids after oil/water separation.

Inlet Thincell 925 ppm
Outlet Thincell 35 ppm
Outlet DAF 15 ppm

Additional Thincell Treatment Options in Upstream Energy:

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