Fracking is making a big difference in the world, more so that whacky Green ideas for energy. Now it appears the benefits of fracking can be extended further by using Carbon Dioxide.
Very strange how the Greens oppose this wondrous technology:
Talk about a win-win situation. Compressed carbon dioxide may be more suitable than water for fracturing methane-rich rock – a finding that could help the growing hydraulic fracturing industry extract more natural gas from spent fields. And because the carbon dioxide is then trapped below ground, the discovery could also spur the development of large-scale carbon sequestration.
Natural gas production has soared worldwide in recent years as a result ofhydraulic fracturing, or fracking – a process of injecting pressurised water into shale formations to fracture the rock and release massive amounts of natural gas trapped inside.
The more extensive the network of fractures created in the shale, the more pathways are available for the gas inside it to escape. Tsuyoshi Ishida at Kyoto University, Japan, and his colleagues have now found a way to greatly extend that network of fractures by replacing pressurised water with liquid or supercritical CO2.
On a broad scale, the pattern of fractures created in rock by conventional hydraulic fracturing is two-dimensional – the fractures tend to occur along a plane. Ishida’s team found, through experiments involving cubes of granite, that compressed CO2 yielded a fracture pattern that was three-dimensional. Ishida expects the compressed CO2 would produce a similar 3D pattern of fracturing in shale too.
It’s unclear exactly why pressurised CO2 yields a different fracture pattern from water, but Ishida’s team suggest it might be connected to the fact that compressed CO2 is around 10 times less viscous than water.