I recently learned about the website FracFocus, a chemical disclosure registry, which has educational information about hydraulic fracturing as well as the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid. According this website, the concentration of additives in most fracturing fluids “is a relatively consistent 0.5% to 2% with water making up 98% to 99.5%.” A searchable map is available from which one can select a well of interest and then download a Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Product Component Information Disclosure (pdf) for that specific well. This document lists the chemicals present in the hydraulic fracturing fluid for that well and states the purpose for each chemical. This list could be used to prompt students to consider why these chemicals are being used as well as why the chemical constituency between wells varies. All information available on the FracFocus website is voluntarily provided by participating oil and natural gas operators.
While there are no wells in NC, invite your students to look at other states where hydraulic fracturing is occurring such as Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Texas.
I’d love to hear how you use this website with your students!