To ensure equivalency, this analysis normalizes hydraulic fracturing technologies by output, as measured in hydraulic horsepower (hhp). After all, comparing the technologies under different loads would skew the results in favor of technologies providing lower output.
We assume a 48-hour, 13-stage load cycle based on measurements collected on real USWS fleets operating in Texas. Each powered stage took 18,013 hhp and 159 minutes on average; idle time between stages averaged 58 minutes and 2,920 hhp for the diesel fleets or 175 hhp for electric fleets.
Following IPCC guidelines, USWS utilizes OEM specifications paired with historical load cycle data and direct measurements throughout our fleets’ load cycles to determine our emissions.
Over the assumed 48-hour load cycle, USWS’s CleanFleet® fleets clearly outperform both diesel and dual-fuel [i.e., dynamic-gas blending (DGB)] fleets (see figure, next page): Compared to conventional Tier IV diesel, CleanFleet® reduces pump-related CO2e by 32% and NO2 by 28%. Similarly, a water-injected CleanFleet® cuts pump-related CO2e by 25% and NO2 by 87% compared to a Tier IV DGB engine using 75% natural gas and 25% diesel.
Per the conservation of mass, the same quantity of carbon going into a CleanFleet® turbine as natural gas must come out; hence, reducing CO2 output increases CO emissions. While lethal in nonventilated environments, CO has a short lifetime in the atmosphere and a weak, indirect effect on global warming, making atmospheric CO emissions preferable to CO2 emissions.
However, the biggest emissions reduction comes from utilizing field gas that would otherwise be flared. Assuming a diesel operation would flare the same quantity of natural gas as a CleanFleet® consumes over our 48-hour load cycle with a 98% flare efficiency, a CleanFleet® reduces CO2e by 62% and NO2 by 33%. Similarly, a water-injected CleanFleet® cuts CO2e by 60% and NO2 by 87% compared to a Tier IV DGB engine using 75% natural gas, 25% diesel, and flaring the remaining gas.
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At US Well Services, environmental stewardship is not just a mantra; every operational decision considers our three core values:
To ensure we achieve our ideals, USWS researches best practices and performs ongoing audits of our processes to guarantee the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of our operations.
In 2013, a goal to reduce the noise and emissions produced by our conventional fleets led to the creation of CleanFleet®, the industry’s pioneering fully electric, mobile hydraulic fracturing fleet. Over the past six years, USWS has completed over 12,000 pumping stages with CleanFleet® — more than any other pressure pumping company utilizing electric frac equipment — and over 54,000 pumping stages with our conventional, diesel-powered fleets.
With 30 patents granted and 104 more pending, USWS is committed to mitigating the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing, and we will continue to innovate new technologies as we push towards this goal.