UALR will be the host site this month for a conference on hydraulic fracturing and environmental pollution designed for leaders in academia, industry, and government.
The conference will be held April 20 to 21. Conference organizers say it is the first of its size and scope for UALR.
The National Science Foundation awarded UALR a $35,773 grant to host the event.
According to the grant’s principal investigator, Dr. Lashun K. Thomas, the conference was created to bring together experts from all sectors to promote ideas, address fracturing efficiency, and discuss ways to mitigate the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing.
Thomas said she hopes the conference will provide a platform to present current research findings and exchange ideas for future directions.
Hydraulic fracturing is a commonly used technology for well stimulation to increase oil and gas production.
There is an urgent need for the development of improved fracturing fluids and methods to achieve better fracturing efficiency as well as minimize potential environmental impact, according to Thomas.
“This technology brings tremendous benefits to people in many states, including Arkansas,” she acknowledged.
“However, pollution is a major concern for residents, especially the potential for water contamination for residents living in regions of the Marcellus Shale in New York and Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas.”
Thomas, an assistant professor in UALR’s Department of Construction Management and Civil and Construction Engineering who is administering UALR’s new environmental engineering program, is joined by co-investigator, Dr. Hansong Tang, an associate professor of civil engineering at the City University of New York.
The grant is effective Dec. 1, 2014, through Nov. 30, 2015.
The project title is “Reducing the Impact of Hydraulic Shale Fracturing and Natural Gas Drilling on Environments: Development of Green Fracturing Fluids and Sustainable Remediation and Containment Technologies.”