In Maryland, they’re proposing a ban on fracking throughout certain counties. In Florida, the entire state is considering an outright ban on the practice. All this in spite of the fact that technological advancements in hydraulic fracturing are making the practice safer and more efficient with each passing day. While protestors decry the fracking as a threat to the environment, scientists and researchers are improving the process to help ensure a future for the planet itself.
Saving Energy and Money For All Involved
One of the largest complaints about fracking is the lost methane that escapes into the atmosphere during each attempt at drilling. While the industry as a whole has remained committed to repurposing this gas into something a little more useful (and profitable), researchers at Washington State University may have figured out how to get the job done.
Project leader Jean-Sabin McEwen, assistant professor of the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, explained that the team at WSU has found a way to improve the current process for capturing and breaking down methane. The team has figured out the math, and now they’re embarking on a way to use the process in the field. When implemented, the WSU team believes they can help diminish the amount of methane released into the atmosphere — which is good for the environment — by repurposing it into usable energy — which makes gas cheaper for the average citizen.
Solving the Earthquake Dilemma
Perhaps the most common critique against fracking are the earthquakes that supposedly happen as a result. Though the industry has made incredible strides to improve and reduce earthquakes (making them largely a non-issue with new projects), fracking opponents still point to earthquakes as the most dangerous result of fracking.
That concern may just be a thing of the past thanks to a new software tool from Stanford scientists that’s designed to, “calculate the probability of triggering manmade earthquakes from wastewater injection and other activities associated with oil and gas production.”
As professor of geophysics Mark Zoback says, the problem is solved simply determining which fissures in the earth are likely to cause earthquakes and then avoiding them. If adopted widely, the new software could make manmade earthquakes a thing of the past.
The Industry Wants to Work With You
The fundamental misconception about most oil and gas companies is that they’re content to simply rob the planet of its riches and grab as much profit as possible. That’s nonsense on both a philosophical and functional level.
Not only does the industry have much more to gain by making sure they can extract valuable energy as long as possible, but they’re constantly innovating and updating in the hopes of making their energy extraction as pleasant as humanly possible.