Skip to comments.Fracking Saves Water
Posted on 12/25/2013 3:46:37 PM PST by Kaslin
Contrary to the conventional teachings of environmentalists, hydraulic fracturing (i.e., fracking) has at least one major environmental benefit: saving water.
Although most Americans are disturbingly ignorant about fracking, it is an issue of critical importance not only with respect to the environment but also in foreign policy and the economy. Typically, the debate is framed around priorities. If you care more about the environment, you are against fracking; but if you care more about energy independence and domestic economic opportunities, you are for fracking.
However, a new study out of the University of Texas at Austin - one of the top schools in the world for studying energy and engineering - disrupts the usual dichotomy. In a world where more and more climate change scientists are concerned about the effects of drought, the latest research shows that the water-intensive fracking method of extracting natural gas actually saves water overall.
Climate Central has the details (emphasis mine):
Electricity produced using natural gas combustion turbines and natural gas combined-cycle generators requires roughly 30 percent of the water needed for coal power plants. The study estimates that the amount of water saved by shifting a power plant from coal to natural gas is up to 50 times the amount of water lost in fracking to extract the natural gas from underground shale formations.
The studys authors estimate that for every gallon of water used to frack for natural gas, Texas saved 33 gallons of water by using that gas for electricity generation rather than producing the same amount of power with coal. During the 2011 drought, if Texas natural gas-fired power plants had generated electricity with coal, the state would have consumed an additional 32 billion gallons of water, or enough to supply about 870,000 people with water, accounting for water used for fracking, according to the study.
Environmental activists have long pushed for an end to fracking in America, or at least a drastic increase in governmental regulations. If they are truly concerned with climate change, the recent research should make them think twice.
> Electricity produced using natural gas combustion turbines and natural gas combined-cycle generators requires roughly 30 percent of the water needed for coal power plants. The study estimates that the amount of water saved by shifting a power plant from coal to natural gas is up to 50 times the amount of water lost in fracking to extract the natural gas from underground shale formations.
Thanks Kaslin, war on coal ping.
I thought they used other chemicals fro fracking. Am I wrong?
They aad chemicals to the water (lubricants, anti-rust agents, etc.) - but it is still mostly water. And that list of “916” chemicals used (or whatever high number) is not used in every well or formation. Different rock formations, depths, etc. have different conditions, and it is more like 5 to 6(?) chemicals that might be use in a well depending on pH, temperature, brine content, etc. (From what I recall reading about it).
And if folks think fracking uses a lot of water, look at ethanol!:
“The production of one liter of gasoline requires three liters of water, according to the researchers. The production of one liter of corn ethanol requires between 350 and 1,400 liters of water from irrigation, depending on location. A liter of ethanol also translates into 1,600 liters of evapo-transpirated water that might not directly replenish the local watershed.”
I was reading the other day of a firm who has a process for coating the inside of plant tubing for a corrosion resistant, higher flow rate item. Pretty Exotic, a Laser, with Vapor Disposition of the product, for the inside of the tube, elbow etc. I think they are doing it to the fracking well piping also. Interesting stuff, akin to the friction reduction technologies the car-bike-boat racing fraternities are employing for added hp and reliability.
None of this sways the mindless environmentalists.
They are anti-hydrocarbon energy in any form whatsoever now.
Which is a change from their earlier positions supporting natural gas and clean coal.
But they rarely get called hypocrites by the press.
Frack on, dudes!
All based on leftist media lies about fracking.
Let me add a caveat here — use of large volumes of scare fresh water in the water deficient Permian Basin of SE New Mexico and west Texas is depleting the Ogallala aquifer which is not recharging due to the semi-arid climate of the area, even in the wettest years. A case can be made that the value of the products extracted and the local economic benefits exceed the value of the water, but when that water is all you have, the argument does not hold. When you put the comparison to coal generation on a more regional or national scale it can make sense, but it doesn’t help those whose water is being depleted (including cities and towns and individual well owners who must deepen their well until the bottom of the aquifer is reached (from 200 to 300 feet depending on location).
Reuse of return water, treated produced (salt) water or maybe a new method of fracking (e.g. using LNG) should be pursued to protect those irreplaceable water resources.
Fracking destroys our ground water but at least there is a way to filter all that out at our taps . . .
For those who want to see a 6 minute video showing how horizontal drilling and fracking is done, Northern Gas and Oil has done a great one.
This includes a piece on how groundwater contamination is avoided:
Knowledge is power, keep the link and pass it on.
You’ll definitely want to watch the video linked in post #13