Friday, October 1, 2010
General Electric is launching a mobile device aimed at helping natural gas drillers recycle water used in a controversial gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing. The truck-sized, transportable device would cut down on both the amount of fresh water used and wastewater currently trucked long distances for disposal.
The company's mobile evaporator would allow natural gas producers to reuse some of the millions of gallons of water used to extract natural gas from dense shale deposits deep underground through the so-called "fracking" process. Water is mixed with chemicals and sand and pumped at high pressure thousands of feet below the surface to create fissures in the rock and release the gas.
GE's mobile evaporator, which will be available early next year, is expected to be used in regions such as North America, Europe, China and Indonesia. One of the first markets expected to use the device is the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, located in the Northeast U.S.