Minimising the trade of water for shale gas
Natural gas plays a key role in meeting energy demands across the world. Hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking), is one of the technologies used to extract shale gas (a form of recoverable natural gas) and has received a significant amount of attention and investment since the 1990’s.
The technology involves pumping fracturing fluid under high pressure into a shale formation, which create cracks in the rock that allow the gas to flow out and be collected in wells. Water and sand make up over 98% of the fracture fluid, with the remainder being made up of additives that help to carry sand into the cracks in the rock.
The problem is that the fracturing process uses millions of litres of water. There are initiatives to recycle the water used in the process, but unfortunately, the majority of the water is lost into the ground and is not recoverable. Additionally, the water used in the process needs to be transported to the fracking site. We need your help to come up with methods that will minimise the usage of our most valuable natural resource on the planet.