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Friday, March 22, 2013

CO2 fracking eyed as one waterless alternative

Today is World Water Day. So, let's talk fracking.

As I've argued repeatedly, there are huge potential benefits - environmental, public health, and business - to be gained by eliminating the use of water and chemicals for fracturing shale in pursuit of natural gas.

This article in MIT's Technology Review describes one alternative fracking method that uses carbon dioxide. The technique could be especially useful - if hurdles are overcome - in arid regions where gas potential is high but water availability is not - China, South Africa, and Australia, for example. Perhaps even in Texas and California, where water scarcity and competing uses are growing issues for natural gas drillers.  

There are other waterless technologies being developed or researched. That work, in my view, must accelerate, and find the broadest possible application in shale gas development world-wide to eliminate the use of "a fragile and finite resource" in fracking - and all of the risks (and costs) it involves.

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