Green Fracking? 5 Technologies for Cleaner Shale Energy
As U.S. oil and gas production from fracking grows, new technologies aim to curb water and chemical use and emissions. Can hydraulic fracturing go green?
James Hill, chief executive of the Calgary, Alberta-based energy services firm GasFrac, is one of a handful of technology pioneers determined to change that. Hill's company has introduced a new fracking method that uses no water at all. Instead, GasFrac uses a gel made from propane—a hydrocarbon that's already naturally present underground—and a combination of what it says are relatively benign chemicals, such as magnesium oxide and ferric sulfate, a chemical used in water treatment plants. Over the past few years, GasFrac has used the process 2,500 times at 700 wells in Canada and the United States.
"We're actually using hydrocarbons to produce hydrocarbons," Hill said. "It's a cycle that's more sustainable."
GasFrac is one of a growing number of companies,