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Rheoreversible Fracking Fluid and Proppant - StimuFrac

Battelle Number(s): 30392
Patent(s) Issued
Available for licensing in all fields
  • An environmentally benign, CO2-activated, rheoreversible fracturing fluid enhances permeability through fracturing due to in situ volume expansion and gel formation. This novel fracturing fluid and process represent a potential alternative to conventional fracturing fluids to vastly reduce water usage and the environmental impact of fracturing practices and effectively make EGS production and unconventional oil/gas exploitation cost-effective and cleaner.

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Conventional hydraulic fracturing is a mechanical process that uses large quantities of a fluid (typically water) at extremely high pressures, with resulting large volumes of waste needing disposal. Rheoreversible fracking uses an in situ chemical process to generate pressure at the desired site, with a working fluid that may be recovered and re-used.  Specifically demonstrated is the reaction between poly(allylamine) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Laboratory tests with representative rock show efficient fracturing at one order of magnitude lower effective stress than standard methods. This work has also led to the development of a proppant utilizing similar chemistry.  In this case, the proppant has an amine polymer shell over a bauxite core.  Reaction of the shell with carbon dioxide (CO2) causes expansion and further fracturing, while also releasing the proppant core, with attendant agglomeration causing large channels to form. While this work was originally designed for more severe geothermal applications, it is equally well-suited to oil and gas production.


  • Expands in volume to provide rapid and controlled increases in pressure

  • Enhances fracturing in subterranean bedrock for recovery of energy-producing materials

  • Stabilizes openings in fractures and fissures following fracturing


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