A new research study from the University of Queensland suggests that an in-depth study of a gas extraction press will reveal important information about the properties of the gas extraction system.
A gas extraction machine is shown in this undated photo.
The study by the Queensland Centre for Environmental Science and Technology (CCES) and the Queensland University of Technology, will focus on a large-scale extraction system at a gas processing plant in Brisbane.
It is hoped that the study will provide an overview of the properties and operating principles of the extraction process, the chemical composition of the wastewater, and how the wastewater is extracted and purified.
“The study will allow us to better understand the operation and management of the complex operation at the plant,” said Professor Brian Mertz from CCES, who led the study.
Drilling the gas in the extraction machine allows the researchers to analyse how the pressure and temperature of the flow are regulated.
When the pressure is high, the water flows into the machine, which is cooled to a temperature of around 100°C.
When the pressure drops, the flow is slowed down by the pressure gradient and then stops.
According to Professor Merts, the gas flow will be regulated by the hydraulic system and then the wastewater flows into a separate tank for extraction.
Professor Merttz said that in some cases the gas could be extracted by using a combination of hydraulic fracturing, steam injection, and air filtration.
However, the main concern for many people was the potential for contamination.
To find out how these processes affected the chemical constituents of the surface, Professor Mersz and his team collected a large volume of the waste produced from the process.
They used the isotope ratio data of the collected samples to calculate the concentrations of each component.
Using this information, the team was able to estimate the chemical compositions of the entire wastewater.
By comparing the isotopes, the researchers found that the water produced by the extraction press contains more than 70% methane and 27% ethane.
Methane is the main component of natural gas.
It is used in heating, industrial processes, and as a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels.
Ethane is an aromatic molecule.
It occurs naturally in natural gas and is the most commonly used fuel in conventional and alternative energy generation.
Other than methane, other contaminants that could be present in the wastewater include hydrocarbons and nitrates.
These contaminants are found naturally in wastewater, but can be detected by analysing the chemical profiles of the water.
Prof Mert says that these contaminants may be important for determining how much of the product has been recovered, or how long the wastewater will be in storage.
He also hopes that by analysning these chemicals, the study can provide information on how long a wastewater system should be in operation.
If the study proves to be useful, it could also help inform research into wastewater management.
This is just one of the research projects being undertaken by CCES.
CCES is a research institute at Queensland University, which supports the study of environmental and social issues in Queensland.
More information can be found on the CCES website: http://www.cces.qld.gov.au/research/