Impact & Benefits
Lower Environmental Impact
Red Leaf Resources's EcoShale® technology extracts oil with lower energy consumption, lower emissions, lower water use and less environmental impact than any oil shale technology deployed in the world today. The EcoShale process was specifically designed to address traditional environmental challenges of oil shale production.
Clean-burning natural gas burners provide direct heat to the capsule, which results in lower emissions than any other oil shale process to date. In addition, the EcoShale technology recovers synthetic natural gases that are produced along with the oil products and puts the gases to use heating the same or future capsules. This unique energy cycle reduces the need for outside energy consumption, resulting in an Energy Return On Investment (EROI) of 10:1 – ten barrels out for one barrel equivalent of energy input.
The Bentonite clay liner which encases the capsule protects ground water from any potential leaching from the processed shale.
The EcoShale process includes land reclamation throughout the commercial production. The reclamation goal is to create stable, self-renewing, non-erosive vegetation beneficial to livestock and wildlife grazing. During commercial production, reclamation of the first capsules will lag oil extraction by approximately 3.5 years. Once this lag time is established, re-grading will follow oil recovery from capsules by approximately 2 years.
The EcoShale process is extremely water sensitive. Water is used during capsule construction for dust remediation, human consumption, saturating the bentonite amended soil, and humidifying the insulating gravel that will line the capsules. The process of heating the capsule and extracting oil from shale uses no water. In commercial production, the water produced as steam from the insulating gravel will be captured and reused in the construction of the next capsule. Any water used for cooling the capsule will be in a closed loop and will be recycled.
The oil produced in Utah by Red Leaf’s EcoShale process will be light (high API gravity) sweet (low sulfur) crude oil that should be excellent feedstock for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, the cleanest automotive fuel available. The EcoShale process produces no heavy bottoms (asphalt) and a higher percentage of the barrel is suitable for transportation fuel than with conventional West Texas Intermediate Crude.
A highlight of the EcoShale process is it does not burn or combust shale. The process heats shale up to a temperature where pyrolysis occurs. Pyrolysis is the process by which hydrocarbons, in the form of black oil, condensate and natural gas, are liberated from the shale. There are some places in the world that burn shale for power generation. Burning shale is a dirty process that produces high levels of particulate emissions. Red Leaf’s EcoShale process does not burn shale.
The EcoShale process produces oil from surface mineable oil shale. It does not include drilled wells or fracking.