Quantitative Survey and Structural Classification of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals Reported in Unconventional Gas Production

Much interest is directed at the chemical structure of hydraulic fracturing (HF) additives in unconventional gas exploitation. To bridge the gap between existing alphabetical disclosures by function / CAS number and emerging scientific contributions on fate and toxicity, the authors reviewed the structural properties which motivate HF applications, and which determine environmental fate and toxicity. The quantitative overview relied on voluntary U.S. disclosures evaluated from the FracFocus registry by different sources and on a House of Representatives (“Waxman”) list. Out of over 1000 reported substances, classification by chemistry yielded succinct subsets able to illustrate the rationale of their use, and physicochemical properties relevant for environmental fate, toxicity and chemical analysis. While many substances were non-toxic, frequent disclosures also included notorious groundwater contaminants like petroleum hydrocarbons (solvents), precursors of endocrine disruptors like nonylphenols (non-emulsifiers), toxic propargyl alcohol (corrosion inhibitor), tetramethyl ammonium (clay stabiliser), biocides or strong oxidants. Application of highly oxidising chemicals, together with occasional disclosures of putative delayed acids and complexing agents (i.e., compounds designed to react in the subsurface) suggests that relevant transformation products may be formed. To adequately investigate such reactions, available information is not sufficient, but instead a full disclosure of HF additives is necessary.

Authors: Elsner M, Hoelzer K. ;Full Source: Environmental Science & Technology. 2016 Feb 22. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Epub ahead of print] ;[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]