Non-Flammable Propane : Key facts
- Technological innovation developed in 2013 by ecorpStim R&D team in Houston, Texas (United States).
- Concept: using a fluorinated form of propane (heptafluoropropane) as a stimulation fluid, in order to completely eliminate the risk associated with the flammability of regular propane.
- Not a single drop of water, not a single chemical additive is used in the non-flammable propane stimulation process.
- Just like regular propane, this non-flammable form of propane (NFP) would be recovered under a gaseous form for an immediate or future re-use.
- It is thus a non-flammable alternative to the 100% pure propane stimulation technique.
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- Non-toxic for man and animals
- Non-carcinogenic, non-mutagenic,
It is now widely used:
- as the propellant in inhalers for children and adults
- as a fire extinguishing agent for use in human environments such as homes, offices, work places and schools.
- Exceedingly thermally stable, inert and non reactive, it will not degrade underground.
- If released above ground, it is completely benign and will dissipate as a gas.
- The substance has zero ozone depleting potential (it was developed to replace halogenated chlorofluorocarbons in inhalers)
Heptafluoropropane is a very stable hydrocarbon, and as such presents a global warming potential. Nevertheless, the total global warming contribution of inhalers using this gas as a propellant is less than 0.5 ‰ of the total greenhouse gas emissions (source: Solvay). Using this gas in a non-flammable propane stimulation system should not significantly increase this level of emissions.
- Flammability risk
- Explosion risk
NFP strengthens the security system as it is applied to all stages of the operation chain:
- On roads, during transport of the stimulation fluid in trucks
- On the exploration/exploitation platform, for the stimulation operation
- On site or in a warehouse, for storage of the fluid
Last, the stimulation fluid being non-flammable, the sites will not be submitted to the European SEVESO classification.
- Low surface tension (1/10 that of water)
- High specific gravity (1 and ½ that of water): NFP is very efficient in proppant transport and placement
- A wide variety of proppants (sand, ceramics…) may be utilized with NFP
- NFP can be recovered, just like regular propane
- NFP is easily separable from other components of natural gas coming out of the well (especially propane and butane, NFP’s closest molecular analogs).