If you type the term “Fracing” into your search engine of choice you will see two results. 1) The definition of fracing as “the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.” and 2) a number of articles surrounding the controversy of opinions on fracking.

Fracing, though improved upon in the 1990s, has its roots in the civil war era. The original method involving a torpedo was a lot less streamlined and more dangerous than the hydraulic fracing developed in the 1940s. However, they both had the same overall goal: To lower “high explosive charges”. The reason this technology is getting the spotlight over a century after it was created, is due to high oil prices and improvements in the technology. Fracing is becoming more widely used and in turn more widely surveilled.

The Process

While the original process of fracing was the equivalent of exploding a torpedo underground, the method of fracing has changed immensely over the last century and a half. It’s become much more scientific, intentional, and not to mention: safe. The current procedure of hydraulic fracing begins with the horizontal drilling of wells which are then injected with water, sand (or frac sand), and chemicals to release hydrocarbons via the fracturing of rock. Hence the industry term “fracing” or “fracking” as the media refers to it.

Fracking Diagram

Either way you decide to spell it, anything affecting our natural resources is bound to spark controversy, and there are valid points to both sides.

The Benefits

The benefits to fracing are mostly economic, offering more jobs, lowering gas and oil prices, increasing our reserves, and reducing our dependence on other countries. There are however a few ecological benefits as well. Burning gas produces less contamination in the air than burning coal and with more gas in the reserve, our air quality will improve. One more major plus is that with this excess reserve the industry is given more time to find methods of renewable clean energy.

The Concerns

The main concern in fracing is water pollution. As water and chemicals are a major part of this process many are concerned about the water seeping through the ground to drinking water sources. Coupled with this concern is the amount of water that is lost in the process. One of the most publicized issues, due to its noticeable effects, related to fracing is the tendency to cause earthquakes. Many residents in areas with high fracing are concerned with the new seismic activity.

The Future

Many researchers in the fracing industry are working to reduce the negative impact on the environment and improve their process. General Kinematics is joining the effort to improve this with better processing equipment. From fluid bed dryers to sand classifiers, GK has a variety of vibratory solutions to improve the processing of frac sand.

 

Contact us to see what GK can do to improve your fracing process!

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