What are alternatives to make fracking less impactful?
While what is in fracking fluid can be harmful to the environment, it is not properly contained, there are new alternatives that could reduce the amount of waste that is typically associated with hydraulic fracturing.
As Brian Nearing of the Times Union and Anthony Brino of InsideClimate News report, the treat to water resources that is posed by fracking can be mitigated with a new technology that’s already being used in Canada and could come to American gas fields in the near future: liquefied propane gas (LPG). The gas fracturing does not require the large amounts of water and reduces the need for what chemicals are used in fracking.
The authors explain that using LPG also does away with the need to pump the water back up to the surface after fractures have been made.
“Unlike water, the gel does a kind of disappearing act underground. It reverts to vapor due to pressure and heat, then returns to the surface – along with the natural gas – for collection, possible reuse and ultimate resale,” Nearing and Brino write.
While the emerging technology is starting to gain support from those in the industry, hydraulic fracking is also gathering more proponents from groups outside of the sector. The Ithaca Journal notes that Clean Growth Now – a coalition of 16 business and trade groups from across New York state – was created to add another voice to the debate that they say has been commandeered by environmentalists and natural gas companies.