Fracking Water-to-Cup Technology Plugged by Oasys Pilot

Shale-gas wells aren't yet synonymous with a fresh glass of water. Former U.S. fighter pilot Jim Matheson thinks he can change that . The Oasys Water Inc. chief executive officer oversees a startup specializing in water-treatment and desalination solutions that clean so-called produced water. Companies have been challenged trying to cleanse a substance saltier than seawater and often laced with radioactive materials that returns to the surface with fossil fuels extracted in fracking. "It's a difficult water, and today that represents a big environmental challenge and it represents a huge economic challenge to the producers," the ex-Navy flier, 49, said in an interview in London. "We can convert that economic and environmental issue into a freshwater resource. You can drink this water."

Oasys hopes to tap into an estimated $36 billion hydraulic fracturing market that transformed the U.S. energy industry by blasting water, sand and a chemical mix into rocks to free trapped gas. Opponents' worries about fracking getting into the water table from the technology has prompted producers and equipment developers to focus on ways to recycle the resource. The Boston-based company has won U.S. and China contracts at a time that water supply crises, including a drought emergency inCalifornia, threaten energy production as power demand rises and the Earth's population surpasses 7 billion.

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