MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – West Virginia University researchers are finding new ways to move away from conventional energy sources to get to more efficient, affordable and green.

Instead of oil and gas, shale gas can take its place as a step toward sustainable energy for the state, according to WVU researcher Shikha Sharma.  

Conventional energy productions (Nexstar Media Wire)

“It produces energy more efficiently and it emits very low greenhouse gases,” she said.  

Sharma said sustainable and renewable energy could take over by 2050, leaving conventional and unconventional energy productions behind.  But natural gas will play a key role in getting there. 

“Natural gas provides low carbon fuel for peak energy usage times. That is when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining, we can depend on this reliable energy source,” Sharma said. “Natural gas will also serve as a bridge to overcome technology gaps required for decarbonization in the energy sector.”  

West Virginia can play a key role in improving shale gas to be a reliable source of energy since the state is its fifth largest producer. 

Sharma and others make sure shale gas is maintained in a responsible manner and have a lot more research to do on the unknown of new productions.  

“We carry out labs experiments to figure out what kind of containments can be produced. If you put co2 into these deep reservoirs, could we cause blocking of the fractures? Could we cause dissolution which could result in leakage?” Sharma said.  

Power plant (Nexstar media wire)

All the research is a step in the greener direction with newer options in the future.  

“We need to work with labs, national labs, state and federal agencies so we could get energy up more sustainably so that we do not impact the environment and we do not compete with the limited water and food resources we have,” Sharma said about the future of shale gas.