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The report, Are We Fit to Frack?


Geoffrey Settle
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Just proving a point, American shale gas companies have a lot of exceptions when it comes to pollution, do we really want our ground water polluting, people are agreeing with the grab for Shale gas without knowing the true cost, or if they do they are not bothered as it will be yet another bill for our future generations to pay, there are very big problems with ground water contamination in America,so much so that new regulations coming in will make it less attractive, it going to cost the USA lots of money clearing up the mess they have all ready made. we need to know a lot more about the implications before we make the same mistakes.

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We've learnt from the experiences of the early fracking operations both in the US and elsewhere with regard to containment of fracking water, and we've also learnt that much of the anti-fracking propaganda is scaremongering and lies (pretty typical of the progress hating Greens).

 

So with the right regulatory framework, and with oversight from the Environment Agency and HSE (just like any other industry), why not?

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I think we should go for it and simply try to avoid some of the issues that have been seen elsewhere. Seems to me the objectors wont be happy though unless they see a 100% certainty that there'll be no problems but life just dosn't work like that.

 

Bill :)

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We've learnt from the experiences of the early fracking operations both in the US and elsewhere with regard to containment of fracking water, and we've also learnt that much of the anti-fracking propaganda is scaremongering and lies (pretty typical of the progress hating Greens).

 

So with the right regulatory framework, and with oversight from the Environment Agency and HSE (just like any other industry), why not?

 

Will you provide any proof for your propaganda and scaremongering claims inky, or are you being economical with the truth with your claims :wink:

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Find the video of tapwater being set on fire that the anti's used - it's all over the internet, then compare the date it was filmed with the dates fracking started, and with the dates of other reports of methane in tap water in the area.

 

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/04/the-gasland-movie-a-fracking-shame-director-pulls-video-to-hide-inconvenient-truths/

 

Then look at the scary reports of land and groundwater becoming contaminated and killing livestock, and you'll see that the only two instances of that were down to failure to contain waste hydraulic fluids (fracking water, to you and me). You'll also see that even in the US the containment and reuse of this water has increased 300% in just 18 months - proof that the industry and evironmental protection agencies recognised the problem and have acted to address it.

 

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/sustainability/new-petro-state/fact-check-truth-behind-fracking-claims-promised-land

 

As for fracking causing earthquakes, you've got to bear in mind that what we're talking about here are actually micro-tremors far below the intensity required for us to even notice them without sensitive instruments. So, fracking sites are carefully monitored with sensitive seismometers which were never installed in those areas before. The seismometers pick up quite large numbers of tiny tremors which had never been reported before. The anti's claim that this is proof that fracking is causing a massive increase in the number of "earth-quakes".

 

In fact, the number of tremors recorded at fracking sites is far lower than the number recorded within a couple of miles of any open cast or deep shaft mining site as a simple result of using explosives for blasting. You make a big bang and you'll get an earth tremor that sensitive instruments can pick up large distances away. The only difference is that with fracking the "bang" comes from hydraulic cracking of rocks deep underground (between 1 and 2 miles down).

 

And fracking isn't even new. As this guy points out - http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2011/06/21/ten-things-to-know-about-fracking/ - 90% of all conventional gas wells drilled in the US since the late 1940's have been routinely fracked to extract the gas.

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A quote from the first link you posted.

 

"Naturally occurring methane is "ubiquitous" in water wells throughout the study region,............  and that the Duke University research team found methane in water wells "nowhere near natural gas wells.""

 

And the second one? That's the video I was talking about. It was filmed before fracking started anywhere nearby.

 

At the end of the day, if there's methane in the ground in sufficient quantity to be extracted then there is almost bound to be methane in the groundwater.

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The keys words here are low level radioactive waste.

 

We're not talking about nuclear fuel waste or parts of nuclear reactors, which will remain radioactive to one degree or other for many thousands of years.

 

We're talking about things like overalls and gloves from hospital Xray and radiography departments, waste mildly radioactive materials from university research experiments and industrial research, even natural Radon producing rocks removed from building sites.

 

As the article points out, "erosion could start "in a few hundred years". But  "The radioactivity in the wastes will largely have decayed away by this time."

 

We could always just move the stuff to the deep underground repository being planned. Or if we're talking about a timescale of hundreds to thousands of years before we need to act then by then we'll probably even have the technology to ship it to the moon or shoot the stuff straight into the sun.

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No it's not the video you were talking about inky, I can post that one if it helps, if you google it their are lots of different videos of water catching fire.

 

Is this what you want here methane in your water, and pollution to the water table,

 

I think we should slow down, we are moving to quickly, the USA, is back tracking now in shale and it's true cost is coming to light, let's just wait and see what happens over their, yes we need energy but it should not be at any cost, Because of the pollution in the States a lot of the exemptions to the law fracking enjoyed are being removed so it's cost is about to go up, we can afford to wait and see, and as more of its impact on the water table comes to light, it might get even more expensive.

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Methane in groundwater is natural - especially in areas where there is methane in the ground! But also in many areas where there are no natural gas pockets far deeper down.

 

And it can only make it through to the taps if the supply is such that the water supply to a property comes straight from a borehole and is piped directly and untreated into the home.

 

While it's underground and under pressure the methane is dissolved in the water, as soon as the pressure is reduced by bringing it to the surface some of the methane immediately "undissolves" from the water and it's that gas you see burning in the videos. In any kind of water supply involving storage tanks, reservoirs or any kind of water treatment the methane will "undissolve" from the water well before it is piped to homes. Unlike the US, very few homes in the UK are supplied direct from a bolehole with no water treatment - I have a farmer friend who has a borehole to provide water for the cattle and for washing the place down, but the domestic water supply still comes from the normal water mains.

 

Since groundwater extraction typically comes from boreholes maybe 50 to 100 feet deep it's far more likely that methane in a particular water supply comes from the decay of organic matter and especially animal wastes which was dissolved into the rainwater before the rainwater soaked into the ground, not from leakage from fracking which occurs up to 5000 feet deeper through solid rock which has prevented the gas escaping for the millions of years it's been there since it formed. No coincidence then that most of these burning water reports come from areas like North Dakota with intensive cattle ranching and therefore high levels of animal waste getting dissolved into the rainwater!

 

And it's not just methane this happens with, many areas have naturally fizzy groundwater due to dissolved carbon dioxide. Many others have hard water due to various different types of dissolved minerals. Some even have mildly radioactive water due to dissolved Radon gas! The point is, it's perfectly natural!

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Another link, some one else's water catching fire,

 

You might have to watch an advert before watching, American news program

 

http://www.today.com/video/today/50431555#50431555

 

There are many videos inky not all are scams, far from it most are not

 

Water gets everywhere, it is very hard to contain, polluted water will leech out into the water table, though the cracks the fracking has made, the risks are not well understood, but they are now becoming evident in the USA, and fracking there is about to become a lot more expensive as some of the laws they were exempt  from are now going to be enforced, once your water table is polluted it is very difficult to correct it, and expensive, Fracking in the UK should be slowed down until its true cost is found, 2 years is not a lot to ask, there is potential for it to become very costly, lets just wait and see how it pans out in the USA.

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And as the risks are now coming to light better to hold off and see, Im not against fraking for the sake of it, I would just like a level playing field so I can make my mind up, it will be the generations to come that pay for a polluted water table, why not wait and see, Its not cheep if future generations have to pay for the clean up, better to be careful and wait.

 

Laws are being changed in the USA, tracking will still be exempt from some pollution laws but not all, this is going to give it a more realistic cost, lets wait and see. We are being rushed into this!!!!!

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Hill Cliffe, if you want to start your own thread just to copy and paste loads of stuff on nuclear safety please feel free.

 

This one was started specifically about whether the energy benefits of fracking outweigh any potential risks.

Thanks inky-pete  I'm working on it now.

Consider it done !

My apologies for going of track on this fracking topic.

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It's quite simple Boris. You obtain the nitrogen from the atmosphere (where it is plentiful being the most abundant gas) and compress it. You store the compressed gas in cylinders and use it to drive whatever machinery you need!

 

What's that you're saying? How do you compress the nitrogen? Easy, use electric driven compressors using electricity from coal/gas/nuclear powered generators of course! Simples :lol:

 

THe emphasize is on the word future

 

But it is clean, easily produced, portable and as asperity says lots of it around.

 

Sadly the technology is not yet around to use it efficiently, or safely.

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So you need lots of new coal, gas and nuclear power stations to provide electricity - which will be about 40-50% efficient in terms of turning energy from fuel into power. You then lose about another 10% of that electricity transmitting it from power station to consumer, so let's say that 40% of your fuel energy input actually gets to the compressor plant.

 

Then, even the best industrial compressors are only about 10% energy efficent (according the the Carbon Trust), this is due to the fact that gases heat up when compressed so most of the energy you put in raises the temperature of the gas rather than its pressure. You then have to use even more energy cooling the compressed gas back down again. So only 4% of the energy from the fuel you put in at the start of the process is going to end up as energy stored in your compressed gas.

 

But before you can compress your nitrogen you have to extract it from the air around us. That is done industrially by a process called fractional distillation, and anyone who knows about distilling knows that you have to start with a liquid. So first you have to cool air down to -195 degrees C, the temperature that air becomes a liquid, which is a very energy intensive process.

 

Using compressed nitrogen as a method of storing energy would probably turn out to be about 1% or 2% energy efficient overall - and you'd still have the emissions produced by the power stations needed entering the atmosphere.

 

The same calculations taking account of electricity generation and transmission losses (which, since the railways use much lower voltages than the national grid are much higher losses - up to 25%) also prove that electrification of railways is actually a less energy efficient option than using diesel or diesel/electric locomotives.

 

There are very few ways of providing energy where it's needed more cleanly and efficiently than directly using fossil fuels at the point of energy need - that's why we use them!

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So you need lots of new coal, gas and nuclear power stations to provide electricity - which will be about 40-50% efficient in terms of turning energy from fuel into power. You then lose about another 10% of that electricity transmitting it from power station to consumer, so let's say that 40% of your fuel energy input actually gets to the compressor plant.

 

Then, even the best industrial compressors are only about 10% energy efficent (according the the Carbon Trust), this is due to the fact that gases heat up when compressed so most of the energy you put in raises the temperature of the gas rather than its pressure. You then have to use even more energy cooling the compressed gas back down again. So only 4% of the energy from the fuel you put in at the start of the process is going to end up as energy stored in your compressed gas.

 

But before you can compress your nitrogen you have to extract it from the air around us. That is done industrially by a process called fractional distillation, and anyone who knows about distilling knows that you have to start with a liquid. So first you have to cool air down to -195 degrees C, the temperature that air becomes a liquid, which is a very energy intensive process.

 

Using compressed nitrogen as a method of storing energy would probably turn out to be about 1% or 2% energy efficient overall - and you'd still have the emissions produced by the power stations needed entering the atmosphere.

 

The same calculations taking account of electricity generation and transmission losses (which, since the railways use much lower voltages than the national grid are much higher losses - up to 25%) also prove that electrification of railways is actually a less energy efficient option than using diesel or diesel/electric locomotives.

 

There are very few ways of providing energy where it's needed more cleanly and efficiently than directly using fossil fuels at the point of energy need - that's why we use them!

 

 

Yes that is very true,  am sure 40, years ago there are these that scoffed at the idea of computers in the house in a similar way.

 

Hydrogen is another gas that shows promise as an alternative power source and just a few years ago it seemed impossible yet next year both Honda and Toyota are to launch Hydrogen powered vehicles. Hydrogen seems likely to replace petrol/diesel powered cars in a few years.

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