Bio batteries and safe shale

  •  Micro-organisms turn waste into electricity
  • Bio batteries arrive in principle
  • Exciting research results
  • Allows safe shale

By Bill Butterworth

15 April 15



Sea GS

According to Oil and Gas UK, there are 14,000 km of pipelines under the seas around the UK, and nearly 300 oil and gas platforms. The cost is many £billions. Drilling on land is much cheaper, safer to human life and much safer environmentally because if there is a difficulty it is much easier to manage.

There is some really exciting stuff coming out of the research centres round the world, much of it from the USA, on microbial activity generating electricity while processing wastes. Much of this research is to do with processing organic wastes – containing Carbon from which the micro-organisms get their energy.  In the drilling and exploration for shale gas, large quantities of brine are used.  When this comes back to the surface, the liquid which is mainly water, also carries significant amounts of hydrocarbons (as oil and dissolved gas). Those hydrocarbons can be used by the micro-organisms to produce electricity to power a battery made of the brine which is, of course, ionised.  So, the Sodium goes to the cathode and the Chlorine goes to the anode. Furthermore, say the University of Colorado Boulder, there is a surplus of electricity after running the desalination process.

This is certainly break-through technology but, one must suspect, there is a long way to go before this can be scaled up and widely used.  Nevertheless, in principle, there is reason to believe that we do now have the technology to manage the drilling process and production operations for shale gas in a way that is environmentally sensitive.

As this blog has previously discussed, British drilling fluid technology can manage the drilling of the top hole very safely. (See posts on December 4 and 5, January 10, 18, 27 and 30.) What this post does it point to managing the J curve and laterals, both in exploration and production.

There is a double whammy, too.  The hydrocarbon wastes will be processed and the effluents, subject to analysis and maybe further treatment, can safely be released back onto the land.


Shale gas is also discussed below in this blog on the following dates;

2014 Dec 4, 5

2015 Jan 10, 18, 27, 30

Feb 5, 8, 22, 26

March 10, 15

April 5, 15