“A technology to remotely monitor conditions at energy-rich Marcellus Shale gas wells to help insure compliance with environmental requirements has been developed through a research partnership funded by the US Department of Energy,” the department announced today.
The DOE has been defending its role in energy technology funding in recent months since the collapse of federally-backed solar technology firm Solyndra. See here for an Breaking Energy video of DOE assistant secretary David Sandalow defending the Department’s history of innovation in October 2011.
“NETL-RUA researcher Dr. Michael McCawley has developed a technology to remotely monitor the environment around energy-rich Marcellus Shale gas wells,” the Department said.
“The project is significant because it streamlines a process to remotely monitor shale gas well drilling sites in areas where the terrain typically hinders monitoring and the lack of nearby power and phone lines makes traditional monitoring difficult. Having remote monitoring available becomes even more significant considering that West Virginia, for example, has more than 1,400 Marcellus Shale gas wells and permits have been issued for 1,200 more,” the Department said.
Modules consist of:
- A radio transceiver,
- A 12-volt battery-powered monitoring device
- And a battery
All are encased in a bright orange box and measure volatile organic compounds as well as dust, light and sound.
For a full post from the DOE detailing the research effort behind the technology, visit the Department’s Fossil Energy Techline here.
Photo Caption: A Cabot Oil and Gas natural gas drill stands at a hydraulic fracturing site on January 18, 2012 in South Montrose, Pennsylvania. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, stimulates gas production by injecting wells with high volumes of chemical-laced water in order to free-up pockets of natural gas below. The process is controversial with critics saying it could poison water supplies, while the natural-gas industry says it’s been used safely for decades. While New York State has yet to decide whether to allow fracking, economically struggling Binghamton has passed a drilling ban which prohibits any exploration or extraction of natural gas in the city for the next two years. The Marcellus Shale Gas Feld extends through parts of New York State, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia and could hold up to 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.