The Barnett Shale is a geological formation in North Texas bearing a large amount of natural gas that was difficult to recover prior to recent technological advances such as hydraulic fracturing. A geophysicist at the University of Texas at Austin analyzed seismic data over a two-year period and has found that while proving any one earthquake was caused by drilling is impossible, a connection between earthquake frequency and fracking does exist.
Shale gas drilling has attracted national attention because advances in technology have unlocked billions of dollars of gas reserves, leading to a boom in production, jobs, and profits, as well as concerns about pollution and public health. In the debate over natural gas drilling, the companies are often the ones accused of twisting the facts. But scientists say opponents sometimes mislead the public, too.
A drilling company in southwestern Pennsylvania has given researchers at National Energy Technology Laboratory access to a commercial drilling site, a move that may provide some of the first solid answers to a controversial question: Can gas drilling fluids migrate and pose a threat to drinking water?
The conclusion of a new study by Cornell University Professor Lawrence M. Cathles shows that, no matter the timeframe considered, substituting natural gas energy for all coal and some oil production provides about 40% of the global warming benefit that a complete switch to low-carbon sources would deliver. And, it would be a far quicker option than going to sources like nuclear or solar.
Until now, most developers of solid oxide fuel cells have focused on larger systems that produce 1 MW of power or more and can replace traditional power plants. Scientists Pacific Northwest National Laboratory instead focused on a small-scale solution powered by methane. A number of recent fuel cell technologies were used to achieve 57% efficiency, a sizable jump from previous efforts.
A team of Rice University students recently fulfilled a challenge to economically turn shale gas produced in China into a range of useful, profitable and environmentally friendly products. In building its plan, the team had to deal not only with processing what's known as "sour gas" straight out of the wellhead, but also had to come up with a solid budget for the construction and profitable operation of the plant as well as a strategy to protect the environment.
According to findings by the U.S. Geological Survey, the rate of earthquakes in the United States’ midsection has jumped six-fold from the late 20th century through last year, and the changes are "almost certainly man-made." Most of the earthquakes resulting from drilling activities are relatively mold, falling into the magnitude 3 range on the Richter scale.
In 2009, when the United States fell into economic recession, greenhouse gas emissions also fell, by 6.59% relative to 2008. In the power sector, however, the recession was not the main cause. Researchers at Harvard University have shown that the primary explanation for the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from power generation that year was that a decrease in the price of natural gas reduced the industry's reliance on coal.
Tons and tons of old produce goes to waste each year, much of it simply thrown away. A new biogas plant near Stuttgart, in Germany, has been built specifically to convert this market waste into methane for commercial use
Former Secretary of Defense William Perry lists biomass, plug-in hybrid cars, nuclear power, more natural gas, and energy efficiency as the only potential near-term answers to easing the United States' emissions of greenhouse gases and addiction to oil. Of these items, what is the most important?
An international team of scientists says it's figured out how to slow global warming in the short run and prevent millions of deaths from dirty air: Stop focusing so much on carbon dioxide.
A quad porosity model developed by Oklahoma State University researchers uses scanning electron microscopy to characterize up to four porosity systems for shale gas. The simulation model, which will offer better forecasting and potential cost savings, is about to be field-tested in gas reservoirs over the next few months.
A demonstration project on the southeastern tip of Australia has helped to verify that depleted natural gas reservoirs can be repurposed for geologic carbon sequestration. The project, which includes scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, also demonstrated that depleted gas fields have enough carbon dioxide storage capacity to make a significant contribution to reducing global emissions.
Metal-organic crystal frameworks feature nanoscale pores and high surface areas—ideal characteristics for absorbing and storing natural gas. But millions of different structure variations have slowed R&D work, prompting a Northwestern University research team to build an algorithm that can sift through possibilities and find the best options, fast.
Led by Penn State University researchers, the new Marcellus Shale Research Network will consolidate and routinely update water data being collected by watershed groups, government agencies, industry stakeholders and universities as a searchable database.
A technology commonly used to map the bottom of the deep ocean can also detect gas seeps in the water column with remarkably high fidelity, according to scientists from the University of New Hampshire and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Deepwater Horizon spill contained a large amount of natural gas, which immediately became food for bacteria. In a new study, scientists explain how they used DNA to identify the microbes present in the Gulf of Mexico during the spill, and how temperature played a role the microbes' ability to consume the gas.
More and more natural gas is being extracted from underground shale deposits, but environmental concerns have been raised. Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback, who recently served on a Department of Energy panel of experts, says it can be done safely.
U.S. production of ethanol has reached more than 13 billion gallons, and transport of this fuel may soon rely on existing gas pipelines. Unfortunately, as NIST testers have found, a common bacteria that is attracted to ethanol can also wreak havoc on the steels used for these pipes.
Pacific Northwest National Lab has teamed with a private partner to test the capabilities of a new fuel cell system that uses natural gas to provide both electricity and heat to commercial buildings. ClearEdge Power is a supplying the refrigerator-shaped cells, which breaks down hydrogen-rich gas to react with oxygen and produce electricity, with heat as a byproduct.
After lying dormant for hundreds of millions of years, shale gas was tapped for the first time in a natural gas well in 1821. Since then, oil has taken the spotlight, but now shale gas is looked to as the energy resource of the present and future. The National Energy Technology Laboratory, which helped pioneer hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, tracks some of the technological developments in shale gas extraction.
Methane hydrates are molecules of natural gas trapped in frozen water, typically in sediments within and below Arctic permafrost. The government and the oil industry are teaming up on a new well that will tap into this potentially vast resource. The twist is that they plan to do so while at the same time sequester carbon dioxide.
The great “canyon” formed by Nili Fossae on Mars is a lot like the Dead Sea, a depressed region between two faults. But instead of a salt sea, this great rift on Mars, recently imaged in spectacular detail by the European Space Agency, is thought to be the source of elevated methane levels that have been detected by telescopes on Earth.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory and an industry partner, ABSMaterial, have built two pilot-scale water treatment systems that they hope will address concerns over the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas well. ABSMaterial’s Osorb technology uses swelling glass to remove 99% of impurities in the water used for this technique.
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