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Disadvantages of producing oil from oil shale

Hydraulic fracturing, which is the process by which fuel is produced from oil shale, requires the use of millions of liters of water, sand and a mixture of chemicals in order to break down the rock rich in organic materials and produce natural gas from it

Burning oil shale. (Courtesy of the US Department of Energy).
Burning oil shale. (Courtesy of the US Department of Energy).

In light of the debate on the question of oil shale mining in the Adulam region, it is worth reading the following news from the University of Cincinnati. The riots taking place in oil-producing countries also cause concern in other countries due to the rise in fuel prices resulting from them. Meanwhile, there is a growing industry that promises to provide new jobs and access to cheaper energy sources on US soil - however, this industry also involves serious controversy.

Deborah Kittner, a doctoral student in geography from the University of Cincinnati, presents in her new lecture at the annual conference of the American Association of Geographers the topic of "the neglectful conduct of the oil industry in Pennsylvania".

Hydraulic fracturing, which is the process by which fuel is produced from oil shale, requires the use of millions of liters of water, sand and a mixture of chemicals in order to break down the rock rich in organic materials (also known as "oil shale", "oil shale" and "shale clay"). ”) and produce natural gas from it. Her research focused on the refining industry in the state of Pennsylvania in light of the abundance of natural gas found there. The city of Pittsburgh has now outlawed the hydraulic fracturing method within its borders, as did the cities of Buffalo and New York, as a result of the fear of chemicals that would leak and contaminate the groundwater, wells and other water sources.

The US Environmental Protection Agency is currently conducting further research on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water and groundwater after Congress expressed concern about the possible negative impact of the method on water quality and public health. The researcher participated in a hearing conducted by the Ministry of the Environment in the USA and she also interviewed professionals in the hydraulic crushing industry. She notes that billions of dollars, originating from the local and international sector, have already been invested in this industry.

The chemical mixture used in this process is, in fact, relatively small. The mixture consists of ninety-five percent water, almost five percent sand and the rest chemicals, according to the researcher, some of which are known to be toxic and carcinogenic. As a result, the reluctance of resident communities known as "not in my back yard", who might encounter this industry in their territory, was born. The water obtained after drilling is extremely saline and tends to be a rich breeding ground for bacteria, and there is a possible fear of contamination with heavy metals, the researcher points out. In addition, there is the question of how to properly dispose of millions of liters of contaminated water, as well as a concern about transporting it on rural and winding side roads.

Based on her research, the scientist notes that many in this industry "make an effort to be environmentally responsible, while being frustrated by companies that do not do so." The researcher adds: "I believe that the research being carried out by the Ministry of the Environment in the US will be really useful and the industry - which is not particularly enthusiastic about new regulations and legislation - is working together with the Ministry regarding the issue." Her research led her to participate in a public hearing in which about a hundred people representing the public were given the opportunity to express their position regarding the issues that the ministry should examine in this issue. The ministry's inspection is planned to be completed in 2012 and will include the question of how the millions of liters of contaminated water received in the process should be treated.

The news about the study

14 תגובות

  1. to camila
    Thank you very much for the links.

    I think it's a must watch clip.

    Until now I wasn't really against nuclear reactors.
    But only now do I "understand" the huge amount of waste that will probably never disappear.

    Personally, I support solar energy.
    And only now do I realize how stupid the absurd claim is that nuclear energy production is economical.
    Just to see the huge amount of resources and the attempts to "get rid" of the waste...

  2. withering:
    Thanks for the links.

    sympathetic:
    I think you would like to respond.

  3. Nils (8)
    The "irrational reluctance... nuclear addicts" as you say, is not unreasonable at all. The truth is that it quite amazes me how you rely so decisively on future scenarios that even the probability of their occurrence is not at all clear and with the same degree of certainty ignores extremely difficult problems that are already factually known today regarding the use of nuclear reactors, and this after several decades of experience that include ten thousand years of experience of operating reactors in aggregate, problems that everyone admits have no real solution (and there are those who, without blinking, consider ignoring it as an acceptable solution). The few attempts by some countries to deal with a series of such problems seriously have proven to involve such high costs that they make the claim that nuclear energy is much cheaper a particularly stupid and vicious claim. Worse than that, even the activation of such solutions turns out to be very far from being safe for the human race. In order for the reader to get some idea of ​​the enormous problems of using nuclear reactors as a source of energy, it is worth reading this report:
    http://www.boell.de/downloads/hebrew.pdf

    and watch the following movie:
    http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/7802/1770916

    You won't find anything here that can be called senseless reluctance. The "talk" about utilizing alternative energy sources is the wise and moral thing that humans should invest in for the sake of future generations.

  4. to Niels Bohr
    In principle you are right. but !!!
    By improving the efficiency of the utilization of solar energy and the utilization of energy in private homes, especially in the field of air conditioning, which accounts for about 70% of consumption.
    can reduce the need for nuclear reactors.

  5. All the fuss with oil shale stems from the senseless reluctance of the obvious future source of energy: nuclear reactors.
    Despite Fukushima and Chernobyl, there will be no other choice.
    We need to improve the technology and its safety, but this is the energy source of the future.
    In any case it will happen because the Chinese are going to build hundreds of nuclear reactors with all the uranium they mine in Africa.
    The rest of the world will have no choice but to follow them or be left behind
    We will see them speak when the oceans begin to flood the plains and it will be necessary to provide drinking water to hundreds of millions of people.
    I wonder how many of the idiots who oppose the nuclear reactors will be willing to adopt families of refugees from Bangladesh, half of which will be flooded.

  6. Of course I meant to write "...oil shale deposits are much more common than oil....".

  7. Cheers (4). If it were that simple, everyone would use the same method,
    After all, oil shale is much more common than oil and contains much more energy.

    It seems to me that the residents of Adulam may be affected by a new type of Pel-Kel ceiling
    A direct result of the "neighborhood culture" and the desire to "bring the blow"
    (a sentence copied directly and not by chance from the world of burglars and thieves)
    As fast as possible and it doesn't matter who pays the price and how much it will cost us.

  8. Why is it not enough to heat the oil shale to produce fuel from it?
    The company that plans to exploit the oil shale in the Ayalon Valley, intends to heat it to 300 degrees Celsius for 3 years and thus produce fuel.

  9. Also oil shale..any "alternative" energy that necessarily includes major pollution must be rejected...so we have a few difficult years ahead of us...there is nothing to be done...until this professor rushes forward to industrialize this cold fusion that he discovered a year and a half ago

  10. Somehow, it seems that the people of the Ministry of Infrastructure don't care about destroying the country, when they hear green bells and whistles, but I don't think there is anything to worry about, since the entire area is "populated" with ancient tombs, and in general it seems that there are quite a lot of antiquities under the ground in the place.

  11. I thought we would see here an innovative proposal for extracting oil from these shale... disappointing.

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