Algae has the potential to work side-by-side with hydraulic fracturing to reduce its environmental impact. The process of hydraulic fracturing requires large amounts water that is combined with proppants and chemicals and then pumped into wells at high pressures. Wastewater comes out of the wells in large volumes and creates a disposal conundrum; a frequent solution is to pump that wastewater back into the ground for storage—a practice that may be contributing to increased seismic activities in some areas.
Oklahoma State University researchers think they have a way to mitigate the amount of wastewater that needs to be disposed. They have determined that algae can grow in wastewater and that it can successfully treat that wastewater.
That algae could then further be turned into valuable products such as biofuels or nutraceuticals. The researchers, led by Biosystems and agricultural engineering professor Nurhan Dunford, are now working on determining the best algae for the job.
For more information, visit The Oklahoman.