We provide more insights into the connections between hydraulic fracturing and nanotechnology, building on our April 28, 2011 blog posting. As before, we focus on patenting as a leading indicator on the commercial ideas floating in the public domain. In our prior post, we focused on patent publications; here, we focus on granted patents. Nanotechnology connections can be found in the nanopores through which gas or oil flows, in nanoparticles and proppant design, in nanosensors, in nanofiltration.
In brief, a rapid rise in patent activity is evident. For example, while 178 granted US patents show use of the terms "hydraulic fracturing" and "nano$," about two-thirds (67%) were granted in 2009-2011 (present, as of June 2, 2011). Even more, 83% were granted in the past five years (2006-2011, again, as of June 2, 2011).
A survey of the patents confirmed that many of the patents are substantively indicative of the connection between hydraulic fracturing and nanotechnology. For example, USP 7,772,163 is for lightweight proppants (BJ Services). We are currently examining more the categories of patents.
Scott E. Rickert of Nanofilm has also recently written about connections between nanotechnology and gas and oil recovery (March 18, 2011, see http://www.industryweek.com/articles/nanotech_and_middle_east_revolution_24153.aspx?Page=1)