Fracking may become greener with hospital sanitizer

July 25, 2014 0 By Amanda Giasson

Fracking - drilling

Excelyte could help alleviate health concerns and environmental damage associated with hydraulic fracturing.

The disinfectant solution was developed by Integrated Environmental Technologies Ltd. (IET), a South Carolina-based company, that is hoping the gas and oil industry will be able to benefit from its solution when it is used for fracking.

Excelyte has been proven affective in the healthcare industry.

The active ingredient in the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved disinfectant is hypochlorous acid, which is a molecule that naturally occurs in the human body and works to fight off infection. The product was initially created by IET for hospitals as a final surface sanitizer to eliminate tuberculosis and other infections that can be acquired in hospital environments. It has also been used in food production to prevent foodborne illness.The solution has been proven to be all but 100% (99.9999%) effective against several viruses and bacteria, such as Salmonella, Listeria, E.coli, H1N1 and HIV.

It is believed that Excelyte may be able to mitigate some of the top health and environment issues linked to the controversial hydrofracturing process. Issues that include excessive wastewater, toxic chemicals polluting groundwater, and the release of hydrogen sulfide, which endangers the lives of oil field workers.

As was reported in an online Forbes article, “The Hospital Disinfectant That’s Making Fracking Greener” by Rosa Trieu, IET CEO David LaVance said that “We figured out that if our product was really safe for hospitals and for food, that it should be quite safe for oil and gas.” He explained that the company has conducted an entire series of tests and papers have been written on it that show it can be utilized in ground wells. LaVance added that “it has no detrimental effect on the water supply because this is a product that is safe for humans.”

Currently, Excelyte is being tested at New Mexico and Utah fracking sites.

LaVance said that many well-known companies are already using the solution, but he would not reveal the names of these firms. Oil field companies in Utah do not have to attain specific approval from the government to test the product. They are only required to report the chemical they use in the FracFocus national database.

The effective sanitizer has been designed to leave zero trace on the environment, and IET is hopeful that mixing its product’s sulfur and bacteria fighting properties with the water used for fracking, instead of the chemicals that are currently used, will lead to the recovery of twice as much wastewater, which can then be recycled and used again instead of relying on more fresh water. Presently, only about 25-30% of water is recycled from the millions of gallons of water used in a single frack job. However, environmentalists still feel that using this disinfectant will not be enough to combat all the environmental risks and damage for which the mining practice is blamed.