By Christiana Briddell, Sr. Communications Manager, ACS GCI
Acrylamide-based polymers are the most common friction reducer used in hydraulic fracturing. In a horizontal well, friction reducers, such as polyacrylamides, reduce the energy and pressure required to pump and increase the productivity of a well. After sand and water, friction-reducers are the largest additive by volume to fracturing fluid. Existing alternatives to polyacrylamides are limited.
Seeking to identify sustainable alternatives to polyacrylamide materials, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Oilfield Chemistry Roundtable (OCR) has awarded a $50,000 research grant to Prof. Paula Diaconescu, of the Chemistry & Biochemistry department at UCLA. Diaconescu’s research will explore incorporating biodegradable elements into a polyacrylamide structure. More specifically, the proposed research will replace the hydrocarbon-based backbone of polyacrylamides with biodegradable groups. The goal is to maintain the desirable friction-reducing ability of the material while altering its polymer backbone to facilitate biodegradation (Figure 1).
In addition to the research grant, the OCR is organizing a symposium at the upcoming 26th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference entitled, “Drilling and Fracturing Fluid Water Reuse and Alternate Sourcing”. The session will discuss chemistry and chemical technology advances related to the reuse of drilling and hydraulic fracturing water.
The OCR is a partnership between the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® and Oilfield Chemistry-related corporations united by a shared commitment to integrate the principles of green and sustainable chemistry and engineering into the business of oilfield development and production. Current members are BASF, Brenntag, CES Energy Solutions, International Flavor and Fragrances, Locus Bio-Energy Solutions, NexTier, Rockwater Energy Solutions, and SNF.