Waterless Fracking?

waterless frackingCould there be a viable alternative(s) to water in the hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) process, especially in deserts and other arid environments where large deposits of shale gas exist? Yes, say a number of experts and engineers. In fact, gas and oil companies have been using carbon dioxide in similar operations on a limited basis for years. Yet, now, as fracking helps free abundant natural gas and oil from U.S. shale deposits, causing a huge shift away from coal and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, alternatives to water are getting closer attention. Especially in China, which is believed to have 50% more natural gas than the U.S. Wyoming is currently using carbon dioxide in fracking because the state already has carbon dioxide pipelines. Economics alone could justify building similar pipelines in other places, according to Robert Dilmore, a research engineer at the U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory. A push from governments to put a price on carbon could give utilities incentive to capture it from power plant smokestacks, for example, in China where most of its shale gas is found in arid regions. Some experts note that carbon dioxide would not only eliminate the need for millions of gallons of water per well, it would also cut large amounts of wastewater produced in the fracking process. While challenges lie ahead for carbon dioxide fracking, its advantages are being seriously explored and scrutinized. (technologyreview.com)


  • Six in 10 (61%) Americans describe themselves as knowledgeable about energy issues, including sources of electrical power and energy efficiency, according to results of a new Harris Poll. This is relatively unchanged since 2009 when 59% of Americans described themselves as knowledgeable about energy issues. (marketingcharts.com)
  • While only four in 10 shoppers are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products, more than eight in 10 appreciate when the manufacturer bears the burden of producing environmentally friendly packaging. (Better Homes and Gardens)
  • The average price of a solar panel has declined by 60% since the beginning of 2011 and while these price drops are beneficial for solar consumers, the sharp fall in prices, due in part by a global oversupply, has put a serious strain on solar manufacturers worldwide. (seia.org)
  • Today hydraulic fracturing is used in about nine out of 10 onshore oil and gas wells in the United States, with an estimated 11,400 new wells fractured each year. In 2010, about 23% of the natural gas consumed in the United States came from shale beds. (sciencenews.org)
  • According to research from Cornell University, beef production requires a ratio of energy expended to protein content of 54:1, compared with just 4:1 for chicken. (thedailygreen.com)

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