Fracking is a controversial process that may help to meet the global demands for energy, but may also cause long term ecological damage.
The process involves pumping highly pressurized liquid into a wellbore, which in turn creates cracks in the rock formation, through which natural gas and petroleum can flow.
It makes it easier to extract the gas or petroleum from the earth.
Energy versus Ecology
Many households and businesses around the world demand a reliable supply of energy to power electronic devices, heating, lighting and water systems, industrial processes and automated activities. Sea Oil, coal fired power stations, and nuclear plants.
These have played a significant role in the production of energy for decades, but while these facilities continue to produce energy, issues including diminishing natural resources and legislation to minimize carbon emissions mean that alternatives are needed.
Renewable energy including wind farms, solar panels and harnessing the energy in the waves are all increasing. These do offer the opportunity to produce a relatively small percentage of our energy needs, but these have also met with opposition from those who see them as a blot on the landscape.
It has been estimated that fracking could offer the potential of unlocking wide scale natural resources that lie beneath the ground.
This could enable many countries to become less reliant on energy exports and offer greater economic stability.
There are also concerns that fracking can result in water contamination, air pollution and some other issues that could impact on the health of the world’s population and an environment.
Monitoring Liquid Flow
For any company undertaking to frack, accurately monitoring and reporting on every step of the process is essential. The liquid which is pumped into the ground is a combination of water, sand, and chemicals, so it will be essential that there are records of the chemicals, the exact blend and the total volume of liquid being used.
Flow meter technology is used to monitor liquid flow in a range of industrial applications. When the flow meter is positioned within the liquid, it can be disruptive to the flow, but more critically it is at greater risk of damage.
In applications where the liquid is ‘dirty’ such as when monitoring fracking fluid, a flow meter can quickly become damaged by the abrasive nature of the liquid. Damaged flow meters are less reliable in providing accurate monitoring data and so become unfit for service.
If damaged flow meters regularly need repair or replacement, making monitoring a costly process.
A solution is to use an ultrasonic flow meter. These are installed on the outside of pipework, so do not disrupt the flow and are unaffected by the abrasive nature of the liquid.
There are many different types of ultrasonic flow meters, but a Doppler Flow Meter is a device that has been specifically designed to measure liquid flow where the liquid contains suspended solids or gas bubbles.
This means that Doppler Flow Meters have been fitted with a wide range of industrial applications where chemicals including acids, abrasive or caustic fluids, viscous liquids, and slurries have to be monitored.
A Doppler flow meter can ensure that the volume of water, chemicals, and sand are being accurately measured at the blending stage as well as ensuring that the right amount of fluid is being pumped into the well during the fracking process.
It can also provide continuous data on the process, to make it easier to report back to regulating bodies.
Why is fracking controversial?
Fracking has revolutionized the energy industry due to its extensive use and has led to some major environmental concerns in many states.
The fracking process involves a lot of water which must be ferried to the fracking location which involves a huge environmental cost
Pollution cases result from the use of malformed practices rather than an inherent risky method which carcinogenic used in the process escape and contaminate groundwater and chemicals causing cancer around the fracking site
Fracking process is also perceived to raise worries of small earth tremors and earthquakes
Anti-fracking movement organization state that fracking prevents states and energy firms from venturing in renewable sources of energy, and concentrating on continued use of fossil fuels
Fracking also leads to global warming due to the leaked methane
To conclude, in a bid to reduce the risks, the EU has published a set of minimum principles, which any country is undertaking fracking must adhere to.
Some countries including France have banned the process, while others are looking at increasing regulations so that any fracking activity is controlled and well managed.