Radio retrieves oil from rocks

Raytheon Company and CF Technologies have developed new technology that could economically unlock the estimated two trillion barrels of oil locked in shale reserves in the US.


Raytheon and CF Technologies have developed new technology that could economically unlock the estimated two trillion barrels of oil locked in shale reserves in the US.



Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) business’ radio frequency (RF) energy combined with critical fluid (CF) technology shows promise for efficiently extracting oil from shale.



Lee Silvestre, director of Mission Innovation at Raytheon IDS, said, “What makes this effort a breakthrough is that similar RF technology that we have been applying in core defence products – radars for tracking and guidance systems – has demonstrated applications in the energy crisis.”



Historically, the lack of an economical and environmentally friendly way for extracting oil from shale has kept it from being a significant energy source. Raytheon IDS and its partner, CF Technologies have struck upon a solution that could solve both the economic and environmental roadblocks.



“We have partnered with CF Technologies, a company expert in critical fluids processes,” said Silvestre. “We are now talking with energy companies to license our unique, patent pending technological approach.”



Combining RF and CF technologies provides a revolutionary way for recovering oil from shale reserves worldwide, according to John Moses, president of CF Technologies. Based on laboratory results and analysis, the oil produced is a light product, comparable to kerosene, that can be produced by the unique process with high extraction efficiency.



“We took a systems approach to the energy problem,” said John Cogliandro, Raytheon IDS chief engineer for the project. “Oil companies are under pressure to be more efficient in how they extract energy sources from the ground. Using our RF-CF technique provides a viable response to these pressures.”


In addition to producing more oil from shale formations, some companies may consider it an option for improving return from existing reserves that have been marginal, including heavy oils, tar sands and spent wells.