NEW JERSEY and NORTH JERSEY SECTIONS of AIChE
and Association of Consulting Chemists and Chemical Engineers
“The Good & Bad of Shale Fracking”
Policy makers worldwide are weighing the good and bad aspects of Shale fracking for Natural Gas. I shall present the facts as best I know in this talk. My talk is in several parts: 1) How NG fits into the U.S. energy system. 2) The good aspects of NG fracking for American energy policy. 3) The history and technology of shale fracking. 4) The bad aspects of NG fracking. As a bonus, if there is time, I will discuss shale oil in N. Dakota and potentially in California.
Shale gas and shale oil have become a modern day gold rush! Shale has quickly gone from nowhere to providing 40% of our gas production; in the coming decades this may rise to 50%. Shale oil now constitutes 30% of US production. And as gas has billowed out of the ground, natural gas prices have tumbled. Cheap gas has helped boost America’s petrochemical industry as well as other energy-intensive businesses, has provided jobs at home, and has forced electricity and heating bills lower. Citibank estimates that rising domestic shale oil and gas production will reduce the current-account trade deficit by 1.2-2.4% of GDP from the current value of 3% of GDP, strengthening the dollar and fuelling jobs and economic growth. To the extent fracked gas has replaced coal for power generation, U.S. carbon emissions have fallen. Shale gas can also be important in China for the same reason. These are all GOOD Aspects.
Gas-rich shale rock formations are found around the world. Exploration is beginning in Europe, although European shale gas appears to be twice as expensive as American shale gas; Australia has tremendous potential. The USEIA estimates China’s reserves to be nearly 50% larger than ours; however, the potentially richest resources may be very expensive to produce. Other countries such as Argentina, and South Africa are likely to have large quantities of shale gas.
But fracking requires the use of enormous quantities of water laced with a “cocktail” of toxic chemicals. This can potentially lead to toxic water spills, possible aquifer contamination, and expensive waste-water treatment. Furthermore, natural gas leakage (a very bad greenhouse gas) has been widely reported at fracking sites. I will describe these and other important pollution aspects of the fracking industry.
This potential energy bonanza is not universally welcomed. France, Bulgaria, and The Netherlands, countries with the largest shale-gas reserves in Europe, have banned fracking; some American states, Illinois, and CA e.g., have as well because of environmental problems. Other countries like Great Britain are insisting on detailed investigations into the environmental effects of fracking before allowing companies to go ahead with drilling. Fracking’s many environmental problems and the fact that we should not be burning more fossil fuels because of GW are the BAD Aspects.
Short Biography for Dr. Philip N. Eisner
|Philip Nathan Eisner was born in Springfield, MA, on 7 March 1934. He graduated from Technical HS in that city in 1951. Phil Eisner has his B.S. in Physics (Course VIII) from MIT (1955). He studied nuclear physics at Columbia University for 2 years and received a Ph. D. in Physics from NYU in 1968. His research career started at ITT Laboratories in Linden, NJ, in 1957 where he did research on free-electron lasers until 1962. He then spent eleven years at the Dewey Space Physics Laboratory in NYC studying the physics and chemistry of the disturbed upper atmosphere (DASA supported) simultaneously studying at NYU and doing research (elastic-scattering cross-sections of thermal electrons by hydrogen atoms) for his PhD at NYU (1968). Phil taught Physics at NYU for two years as an Adjunct Professor (1968-1969). In 1972 he founded Exxon’s Applied Physics laboratory at Exxon’s Corporate Research Laboratory in Linden, NJ, to study fine-particle pollution using molecular-beam techniques; then he developed and managed a large and successful research project on laser-isotope-separation of uranium for Exxon. Later Phil determined the economics for several Exxon Research and Engineering (ERE) research and development programs including photovoltaic cells, uranium laser-isotope-separation, combustion, and a large Exxon shale oil development project. He planned ERE’s long-range engineering research for 5 years before he retired from Exxon in 1986.In 1987, Phil founded his own consulting company and performed over an 11-year period Strategic Planning, Decision and Risk analysis, and Total Quality Management for over 50 clients in technology businesses, including several S&P 500 companies. During the last decade Phil has studied global warming and written and lectured on the subject extensively at clubs, public libraries, universities, and a resort (The Mohonk Mountain House in NY). He recently has lectured on Shale Fracking and Sustainability. He is active in the MIT Alumni Club of Northern NJ and has been a board member for about 20 years. Also Phil was an MIT Educational Counselor from 1992-2002 and District Vice Chairman, 1999-2002.Phil is also active in the Summit community. From 1997-2003, he was a member of Summit’s School Board (President, 2001-2002) and he is now the VP of the Summit Board of Health and a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Sustainability. He and his wife Elizabeth have lived in New Providence and Summit, NJ, since 1972.Phil has always been active in sports. He played varsity hockey in high school and was a varsity baseball pitcher in high school and at MIT. He was an active skier from 1958 to about 1985, a 10-km runner from 1978 to 1988, and has played tennis most of his adult life. Phil coached American Legion Baseball in Springfield, NJ, from 1986 to 1998.
A more detailed biography is available in Who’s Who in America, 54th and later editions.
Tuesday November 19, 2013
Registration and Networking 6:00 PM
Dinner 6:30 PM
Program 7:30 PM
Snuffy’s Restaurant Mountain and Park Avenues, Scotch Plains www.pantagis.com
(250 Park Avenue Scotch Plains, NJ 07076, phone 908-322-7726)
Members and Guests …………………..………..$25
Unemployed/Retired Section members………. $15
Some meetings of AIChE local sections have been sponsored. If you would like to sponsor this meeting or a future meeting please let us know. Many levels of sponsorship are available.
Have you heard someone speak that would be of interest to our group? Would you like to speak? We’re interested in both technical and general interest presentations. Let us know.
Professional Development Hours
PDH credits will be awarded when applicable
New Jersey Section Information:
Call Andy Soos at (908) 604-2670 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 11/15/13.
Executive Committee Meeting
The Executive Committee meeting will be held on Nov. 12th
at Paisano’s Pizza www.paisanoswatchung.comat 6:30 pm
(1511 U.S. 22, Watchung, NJ 07069 at the Watchung Square Mall).
All members are welcome.