PRESS RELEASE | Oceanit Receives U.S. Department of Energy Award to Develop Water-Saving Innovations for Natural Gas Recovery & Environmental Management

Energy, Press Release
  • Energy from natural gas produces half the CO2 of coal, yet its extraction has significant impacts on water use and exacerbates scarcity in well areas
  • A single unconventional natural gas well requires millions to tens of millions of gallons of water to extract natural gas held therein
  • Oceanit, in collaboration with U.S. Dept. of Energy, aims to reduce the water used to recover natural gas by up to 90%

Honolulu, HI | 19 July, 2021 – As part of Oceanit’s ongoing commitment to energy transformation, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science selected Oceanit to develop an improved system for unconventional wells that significantly reduces water usage, greatly decreasing the ecological, climate and social impacts of natural gas recovery.

Using a novel delivery medium with a proprietary smart material, Oceanit aims to reduce the water used to recover natural gas significantly, by up to 90%, compared with current methods, mitigating water depletion from increasingly water-starved areas. The fluid mixture used for typical energy exploration production contains 95% or more water, with a single well requiring millions to tens of millions of gallons to extract. By adding gas to create a foam, water use will be reduced by 90% compared to a typical production operation; the natural gas within the foam can thereafter be recaptured.

Oceanit will build upon vast experience in chemistry and materials engineering to develop this advanced, low-viscosity foam—principally composed of water and natural gas—which will be paired with another Oceanit ‘smart materials’ technology. In combination, these two technologies could save water on the order of tens of millions of gallons per site.

Over the last two decades, hydraulic fracturing has proliferated across the country, shifting U.S. energy consumption away from coal and towards natural gas. Natural gas produces half the CO2 of coal, and many therefore see unconventional wells as a benefit to the environment. However, due to the high water intensity, many of the areas with unconventional wells are facing increasing water scarcity as a result. Additionally, as climate change progresses, rainfall and snowmelt are becoming less reliable, which will further restrict water supplies.

Oceanit’s new project aims to reduce the negative aspects of the unconventional natural gas well processes to unmask the environmental benefits of reduced carbon emissions. Cleaner natural gas, recovered with significantly reduced water consumption, will greatly improve the ecological footprint of natural gas recovery.

It is well understood that humanity needs to reduce greenhouse emissions to have a fighting chance at preventing catastrophic warming of the planet.  Oceanit believes sustainable and renewable energy sources must be the focus of our future. Solar, hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, and more are necessary for the long-term health of our planet and are committed to energy transformation and a carbon-free energy future. Yet, systemic change will not happen instantaneously; and adoption of renewable energy is not yet feasible in many places. However, we do not have to wait until renewables become more cost-effective to begin cutting carbon emissions. We can make an impact now.

As we further develop renewable energy technologies, Oceanit is tackling the necessary task of improving what is already in place. “This is part of our overall energy transformation strategy,” said Dr. Patrick Sullivan, Oceanit’s CEO, “we need to reduce impact immediately from current energy sources while simultaneously create new energy sources, e.g., green hydrogen. To effectively do this, we consider the entire energy business ecosystem – exploration & production, transmission, refining, distribution, carbon sequestration and new energies.”

Oceanit brings disruptive innovation to the entire energy space—from production and transmission to power generation and refining processes, and even water waste reduction and carbon capture—to improve the safety and efficiency of existing systems, enabling impactful emissions reductions right now.  Countries will continue to use fossil fuels for a significant portion of our energy generation for years to come. We cannot wait for a silver bullet. Oceanit is committed to continually improving energy; diving into the deep end of dirty energy as it is today and seeing through the entire process to make it what it ought to be.

Founded in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1985, Oceanit is a privately-held, award-winning innovation company that works to solve important problems across sectors like aerospace, energy, environment & climate, ocean sciences, health, and materials. A ‘Mind to Market’ company, Oceanit employs the unique discipline of Intellectual Anarchy to transform fundamental science developed in the lab into impactful technologies for the market. Oceanit creates cutting-edge solutions, services, and products recognized for excellence in advanced technology R&D and aimed toward delivering the future for the next 100 years.