Academic Venture Fund - 2016

Detecting Toxic Chemicals in Fracking Water

Hydrofracking drill pad

Many chemicals used in or evolved from hydraulic fracturing gas wells are unknown, so water quality monitoring is exceedingly difficult. Using state-of-the-art techniques in chemistry and environmental toxicology, the researchers will identify unknown chemicals of concern in water collected throughout the fracking process. The team's innovative detection method first identifies toxic effects in samples and then defines chemical structures using mass spectrometry. The technique could lead to important advances in environmental monitoring of groundwater and surface water, as well as better wastewater treatment strategies.

Investigators: Damian Helbling, Anthony Hay