Corporate America has been walking the line between the clear economic benefits of the shale energy industry and the environmental challenges.
“While fracking has vaulted the U.S. ahead of Russia as the world’s leading gas producer, its success has generated controversy. A single fracked well can consume as much as 6 million gallons of water -- a threat to local water supplies, according to critics. Chemical-laden wastewater from fracking sites has been linked to pollution of streams and rivers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already promulgated rules aimed at reducing fracking emissions and has been asked by some states to consider whether fracking fluids should be regulated as a hazardous waste, and several states have moved to regulate the process.”
This article from Bloomberg discusses the creativity and commitment of a number of the multi-nationals to green-up the industry. Research has centered on two fronts: curbing air pollution, and the bigger challenge of eliminating toxic chemicals. Halliburton’s SandCastles reduce the use of diesel engines by using solar panels to power the fracking process. Ecologix sells technology that can recycle fracking wastewater by using air bubbles to separate out polluting solids, forming them into a sludge blanket that can be scooped up. GE has introduced the Mobile Evaporator, a boiler-on-wheels the size of a semi-truck that can be towed from well to well and cleans about 50 gallons (189 liters) of water a minute by boiling it to separate out contaminants. Halliburton also is promoting CleanStim, a fracking fluid with additives it said are made almost entirely of enzymes from fruit and vegetable compounds.