Flaring our way out of a water crisis

Yael R. Glazer, F. Todd Davidson and Michael E. Webber , October 2015 (Citation)


In the process of providing the energy we consume, oil and gas producers around the world use large quantities of clean water, generate massive amounts of wastewater, and purposefully set ablaze a portion of their natural gas production. The volume of water is tremendous, and enough energy is “flared” to power more than 50 million U.S. homes every year. In many places in the world, the freshwater needed for such operations is scarce; and natural gas flaring releases greenhouse gases and produces light pollution. Given the recent boom in oil and gas production in the U.S., it seems that these issues may not be going away anytime soon. However, with some clever engineering, we could pit these environmental liabilities — wastewater production, overuse of freshwater and gas flaring — against one another to solve all three at once.

Yael R. Glazer, F. Todd Davidson and Michael E. Webber, “Flaring our way out of a water crisis,” Earth Magazine, October 2015.
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