Tuesday June 25, 2019

Chinese Scientists Discover CO2 More Efficient to Use in Fracking than Water

Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming

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CO2, fracking
Fracking trucks at work are seen at a shale gas well of Sinopec in Nanchuan, Chongqing, China March 18, 2018. Picture taken March 18, 2018. VOA

Chinese scientists have discovered that carbon dioxide is more efficient to use in fracking than water.

Fracking is the controversial process in which water or other fluids are injected into underground rocks at high pressure to release oil and natural gas deposits.

U.S. environmentalists have denounced the process because of the huge amounts of water needed, the contamination of underground water supplies, and small earthquakes it triggers.

In a new report in the journal Joule, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and China University of Petroleum discovered that using CO2 instead of water resulted in as much as 20 times more oil.

CO2, fracking
Employees work at a shale gas fracking site of Sinopec in Nanchuan, Chongqing, China March 18, 2018. VOA

“These real-world results revealed that as compared to water fracturing, CO2 fracturing is an important and greener alternative,” especially in arid areas where the water has to be trucked in, the report says.

Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

The scientists say the CO2 used in fracking would stay underground and not be released into the atmosphere.

ALSO READ: Scientists Find Gold-Studded Fungus in Western Australia

The scientists say further research is needed as well as the winning over of cooperation from the industry. (VOA)

Next Story

Trump Administration Commits to Make Fossil Fuels Cleaner, Says Energy Secretary

Fossil fuel emissions have been cited by scientists as a major source of global warming

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fossil fuels
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, center, speaks as Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, left, and and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon look on at an energy summit, May 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. VOA

The Trump administration is committed to making fossil fuels cleaner rather than imposing “draconian” regulations on coal and oil, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Thursday at an energy conference in Salt Lake City.

Perry previously said the administration wants to spend $500 million next year on fossil fuel research and development as demand plummets for coal and surges for natural gas.

“Instead of punishing fuels that produce emissions through regulation, we’re seeking to reduce those emissions by innovation,” Perry said at the conference. Fossil fuel emissions have been cited by scientists as a major source of global warming.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently said the world must change how it fuels factories, vehicles and homes to limit future global warming.

Perry said the Trump administration has proven it can make energy cleaner, but he provided no details involving coal and other fossil fuels, other than the closing of old, inefficient coal-burning power plants and exporting increasing volumes of natural gas, an alternative to coal.

fossil fuels
Protesters gather outside the Utah Governor’s Energy Summit at Grand America Hotel, May 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. VOA

Department of Energy spokesman Dirk Vande Beek didn’t immediately return an email and voicemail seeking more details about Perry’s claim.

Perry pointed to an overall drop in emissions as proof of progress.

Greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13 percent from 2005 to 2017, according to the most recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lindsay Beebe of the Sierra Club in Utah said trying to make fossil fuels cleaner is misspent energy.

“I don’t know that it’s possible right now, but what is ready right now are renewables. Wind, solar and geothermal are commercially viable and at scale,” Beebe said.

The summit Thursday was briefly interrupted when 15 protesters took the stage to criticize the administration’s fixation on fossil fuels.

They said the misguided approach ignores climate change. Police then escorted them out.

fossil fuels
About 25 protesters are escorted by police after interrupting a energy summit where U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry spoke, May 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Perry says the Trump administration is committed to making fossil fuels cleaner rather than imposing “draconian” regulations on oil, gas and coal. VOA

After they left, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who sponsored the event, said he and other leaders appreciated the “youthful enthusiasm” but their call to immediately discard fossil fuels and shift entirely to renewable energy isn’t realistic.

“They would like us to quit by Friday and not take anything out of the ground,” Herbert said. “That obviously doesn’t work from a practical standpoint.”

ALSO READ: Chinese Scientists Discover CO2 More Efficient to Use in Fracking than Water

Americans burned a record amount of energy in 2018, with a 10% jump in consumption from booming natural gas helping lead the way, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

Fossil fuels in all accounted for 80% of Americans’ energy use. (VOA)