A new hydraulic fracturing fluid with less environmental impact has been designed in response to public concern over the fracturing process. The new green fracking fluid has now been recognized by the chemical engineering industry as the overall winner at the Institution of Chemical Engineers’ (IChemE) Global Awards 2015. It was chosen among 100 entries for the award, according to a release from iChemE.
Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, developed the the product. The non-toxic, potentially recyclable fluid expands in the presence of CO2, and as a result, reservoir rock can be fractured at significantly lower pumping pressures, potentially making fracking less energy intensive and more environmentally friendly.
The Pacific Northwest team also won the Oil & Gas Award as well as the Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering.
Another U.S. winner, Lehigh Technologies, took home the Sustainable Technology Award for its micronized powder manufactured from used industrial rubber. Ohio State University claimed the Water Management and Supply Award, and California-based producer Novvi received the Best Business Start-Up Award – a new category for 2015. Novvi has developed targeted hydrocarbon molecules from plant sugar, replacing petroleum with biochemicals without compromise.
The Research Project of the Year Award went to Laurentian University and Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations in Canada for its program to capture waste off-gas heat and mitigate of CO2 to produce clean-burning biodiesel.