The solution to cleaning fracking water? A sponge

A new 'smart sponge' may be the key to reducing the pollution caused by runoff water from drilling for oil and gas, according to OilPrice.com.

By , Guest blogger

  • close
    A natural gas well is drilled near Canton, in Bradford County, Pennsylvania in this January 2012 file photo. Fracking is massively water intensive and one of the main problems is cleaning the contaminated water after it has been used, according to OilPrice.com.
    View Caption

At the recent World Shale Oil & Gas Summit, Abtech Holdings Glenn Rink was handed the award for the best technology innovator of 2012. Their amazing technology? A sponge.

Fracking is massively water intensive and one of the main problems is cleaning the contaminated water after it has been used. Each well requires millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals in order to break open the shale and allow the oil and gas to flow. When the water returns to the surface it is highly polluted with chemicals, petroleum liquids, metals, and other debris. (RELATED: How to Benefit from the Offshore Oil Boom)

Current technologies use skimmers, centrifuges, and reverse osmosis to clean the water, yet they are not perfect, and the water still remains too polluted to be used in the fracking process again, or to be released back into the water table.

Recommended: Think you know the odd effects of global climate change? Take our quiz.

Abtech’s ‘Smart Sponge’ seems to hold the solution. The sponge is made in a process which makes the plastic structure highly oleophilic yet hydrophobic. This means that the sponge does not soak up any water at all, yet absorbs as much oil as possible. In fact it is so oleophilic that it can soak up three pounds of oil for every pound of sponge, and in such a way that the hydrocarbon molecules chemically bond with the sponge and are not released. (RELATED: An Inside Look at the Energy Markets)

The fact that every pound of Smart Sponge will hold three pounds of oil means that the used sponges become solid sources of fuel. Abtech is now in the process of developing generators which will use these oil saturated sponges as fuel, rather than the traditional diesel.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Smart-Sponge-Holds-the-Key-to-Cleaning-Fracking-Water.html 

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best energy bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

Share this story:
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...