Research at the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre suggests that natural helium gas – best known for its use in party balloons – could help aid the safe production of shale or coal gas.
The discovery of high levels of helium in UK coal seams could help scientists to monitor the secure recovery of coal or shale gas from underground sites. Any gas leaks from deep underground would be accompanied by a rise in helium levels, which could be easily detected.
Their discovery could aid secure fracking – in which rocks below ground are split with high-pressure fluids – or extraction of methane gas from deep coal beds.
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