CONSOL Energy Bolsters Water Division to Market Resources and Capabilities; Acquires an Equity Interest in Epiphany Solar Water Systems

Jun 25, 2012, 13:15 ET from CONSOL Energy Inc.

PITTSBURGH, June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX), the leading diversified fuel producer headquartered in the Eastern U.S., today announced that it is taking steps to formalize its current water operations into a vertically integrated Water Division that will  market the company's extensive water resources as well as its water treatment and management expertise.

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"Given our extensive water assets and successful water management experience, we believe we have a valuable service to offer to the natural gas industry's growing need for water resources.  Our fresh water and acid mine drainage (AMD) sources are strategically located in the fairway of the Marcellus Shale and can serve as a reliable source of water supply for gas producers whose operations are constrained because of water withdrawal restrictions during certain dry periods,"  commented Nicholas J. DeIuliis, president of CONSOL Energy.  "CONSOL Energy treats over 36 billion gallons of water per year.   We are currently testing use of this water in our own drilling and well operations and are negotiating AMD off-take agreements with several leading gas operators who see the value of a reliable water supply." 

CONSOL Energy is also completing construction of a second state-of-the-art Reverse Osmosis Zero Liquid Discharge water treatment plant in northern West Virginia.  This facility will serve as a water source for the company and possibly as a water source for third parties.  In addition, the company is exploring the potential of the facility to treat Marcellus Shale flowback water.    

CONSOL Energy also announced that it acquired a minority equity interest in Epiphany Solar Water Systems, a privately-held company founded in New Castle, PA in 2009 that has invented the world's first concentrated solar powered water purification system.   Under the agreement, CONSOL Energy has made an initial investment of $500,000 and one of its Marcellus gas well locations in Greene County will serve as the site to pilot test this solar powered water purification system. 

"We view Epiphany as another facet of our water management growth strategy, and are very excited about the potential of this green technology and its application to multiple water treatment opportunities," added Mr. DeIuliis.

Epiphany Solar Water Systems' proprietary, solar powered water purification system has the potential to combine a renewable energy source – the sun – with the development of clean-burning natural gas from the Marcellus shale while reducing an operator's environmental footprint.   The process breaks down flowback water into benign components with marketable value -- distilled water, salt and other minerals -- plus a small quantity of waste materials that can be safely contained in solid form and readied for safe disposal.

"CONSOL Energy was quick to recognize the potential positive impact that our water remediation technology can have on natural gas drilling production and we are grateful that they are willing to let us test the efficacy of this solution," commented Tom Joseph, founder and chief executive officer of Epiphany Solar Water Systems.  "During this pilot test, Epiphany will also work to determine the potential of our technology to lower the cost of energy needed to process wastewater by using alternative energy, reduce the risk of waste disposal by processing water on site and recovering the resultant water, salt, minerals and disposable waste materials, minimize the volume of materials that must be transported off-site for safe disposal, and reduce the amount of truck traffic associated with this aspect of development." 

Ron Pettengill, executive vice president of Epiphany's Oil, Gas & Coal division added, "This technology is an example of the next generation of alternative energy solutions that work under the premise that green energy must be competitive with other choices.  We believe you can have both environmental safety and economical operation in the same package."

Epiphany has selected PMC Biotech of Exton, PA, as its technology partner for the CONSOL Energy pilot project.  Epiphany and PMC Biotech are part of a growing group of Pennsylvania-based companies providing solutions for the state's newly reinvigorated energy industry. PMC provides cutting edge biological conversion technology that is an important component of Epiphany's water remediation process.

Epiphany's pilot test is scheduled to begin in July with initial results expected in early fall.

About CONSOL Energy

CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) is a Pittsburgh-based producer of coal and natural gas. It has 12 bituminous coal mining complexes in four states and reports proven and probable coal reserves of 4.5 billion tons.  The company's premium Appalachian coals are sold worldwide to electricity generators and steelmakers. In natural gas, CONSOL has transformed itself from a pure-play coal bed methane producer to a full-fledged exploration and production company. The company is a leading producer in the Marcellus Shale, has an active exploration program in the Utica Shale and has proved natural gas reserves of 3.5 trillion cubic feet. Operational safety is the company's top core value and CONSOL boasts a record of almost two times better than the industry average for underground bituminous coal mines.  In 2011, the company recorded its best safety record since it was founded in 1860.  CONSOL Energy is a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 Equity Index and the Fortune 500. Additional information about CONSOL Energy can be found at its Web site:

About Epiphany Solar Water Systems

Epiphany Solar Water Systems, a privately-held company founded in 2009 in New Castle, PA, invented the world's first concentrated solar powered water desalination and purification system. The company's goal is to use solar energy to provide water purification solutions at a price which is cost-competitive with conventionally powered systems. Epiphany also operates a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Project EviivE, whose sole purpose is to provide water desalination/purification systems to communities in the developing world.