Fracking without chemicals – fluoropropane an alternative??

Share Button

A report published by the French weekly Le Canard Enchaine indicated Montebourg is backing a proposal to allow local governments to decide whether they want to allow fracking by employing fluoropropane, a non-flammable liquid used as a propellant in inhalers and fire extinguishers, as an alternative to the banned techniques.

The fluoropropane method is being developed by the Texas company EcorpStim but has yet to be tested in France……..

The other method being employed in the United States is to use propane, which eliminates the need for chemicals. However, there are risks of explosions. The risks would be greater in France, where the population is much denser than in the United States, and each well would have to be put in highest category in terms of industrial risk……..

Read more:


For those who can understand French,please find below a  good and instructive article published yesterday (3 Feb 2014) by an excellent media (unfortunately not free) called “Arrêt sur Images”. It very simply explains why these two new techniques (the one with liquified propane and the one with fluoropropane) are probably even more dangerous and less economical than fracking itself:

  • The propane technique first: It would be a solution that would replace the use of water and most of the chemicals… Hooray ? Well, not really. Because the main attribute of propane is that it is extremely flammable especially when it’s in contact with the air, which makes a lot of experts say that it can be a solution only in very remote places with a very small population density. A report was made in France by a French agency which analysed these techniques and about the propane technique, it concluded that if that technique had to be used, each fracking site would have to be declared a “Seveso” site, which means that this is a site with “major risks of accidents”. Not really reassuring…
  • Then the fluropropane technique: It is an alternative to the propane one, which is unofficially called the “non-flammable propane” technique as it’s a non-flammable substance with the same properties than the propane to extract the gas trapped in the underground. Hooray then ? Well not really: First because it’s just a prototype which has never been experimented. A secondly (and even more importantly): fluropropane is one of the worst gas that exist, in terms of global warming potential. You remember that we’ve been saying that methane can be up to 86 times more potent than CO2 when leaked in the atmosphere ? Well, then, you have to know that fluropropane is, according to the official figures of the United Nations, 2900 times more potent than CO2 on a hundred year period. Last but not least, it also appears that fluropropane is extremely expensive, which could make its use uneconomical.

Always good to know as it is pretty sure that a lot of industries will try to convince your national decision-makers that these alternatives are the solution to the dangerous fracking…

[2014.02.03]_Montebourg a découvert le gaz de schiste _propre et écolo_[Arrêt sur images]———————–

This cannot be a good alternative to water. Heptafluoropropane has has a very high global warming potential (3220 x CO2) and any leakage therefore may have a much stronger warming effect than all the methane that is escaping with fracking.

Moreover, at high temperatures it may decompose resulting in the formation of HF, a highly agressive solvent for for siliceous rocks, glass and anything else (that may even be the reason why they want to apply it – some HF being formed my help widening cracks).

Not a good idea to produce this stuff in the large amounts that are necessary for fracking