Hydraulic fracturing technologies provide the ability to emplace lenses of granular proppant material in the subsurface. The current spectrum of proppant materials, fracture emplacement methodologies, and remedial applications is broad and ever-expanding. The ultimate breadth of application possibilities is limited only by the creativity of project designers and the knowledge base of hydraulic fracturing practitioners (we have that covered). In general, remedial applications of hydraulic fracturing fall into two broad categories: Enhanced Flow and Passive Treatments.
The proppant used for enhanced flow applications is typically medium-grained, well-sorted, rounded, quartz sand. The ability to emplace a high permeability sand lens within a relatively low permeability material provides a method for manipulating the flow field around wells. Installation of hydraulic fractures typically increases the extraction/injection rates of wells by 10 to 50 times, with increases of multiple orders of magnitude having been observed in some extreme cases. This attribute of hydraulic fracturing has long been exploited by the gas and oil industry to increase productivity. Environmental remediation technologies that benefit from enhanced flow include pump and treat, air sparging, soil vapor extraction, and approaches that require injection of gas or liquid phase amendments. Find more information on enhanced flow technologies here.
Enhanced Flow Remediation Technologies that can benefit from hydraulic fracturing
Pump and Treat
Soil Vapor Extraction
In Situ Oxidation/Reduction
Passive systems are those that do not involve injection or extraction activities following the creation of hydraulic fractures. The proppant used for passive applications is typically a chemically reactive solid, or nutrients, buffers, and microbes intended to enhance biological activity. When possible, a high permeable variant of these solids are used as proppant, which results in manipulation of the flow patterns within the pre-existing flow field. This results in the fracture “capturing”, and therefore treating flow derived from a far field cross-section that is much greater than the cross-sectional area of the fracture itself. Passive environmental remediation technologies that benefit from hydraulic fracturing include in situ oxidation, in situ reduction, and enhanced bioremediation. For more information on passive technologies click here.
Passive Remediation Technologies that
can benefit from hydraulic fracturing
In Situ Oxidation
In Situ Reduction