Houston, Texas-based Chimera Energy says it has developed a new Fracking method that doesn’t require water.

Fracking – short for hydraulic fracturing – is the process by which oil and natural gas reserves can be extracted from the ground. So far, it has required high volumes of water, pumped underground via high pressure, to crack open shale, creating fissures that allow gas or oil contained within it to flow freely.

The problem; is that agents added to the water to assist in the Fracking process, such as foaming agents and friction reducers can contaminate ground water supplies.

As a result, despite enabling the extraction of otherwise difficult to obtain energy deposits (significantly reducing the need for importing oil and gas from overseas), Fracking isn’t exactly viewed as an environmentally friendly process.

Chimera Energy says it has gotten around that by exothermic extraction, a process that involves pumping hot gases to fracture the shale, instead of liquid. A combination of metal oxides, pumice and ultra-expansive evaporants are pumped into underground wells. The metal oxides react with each other, resulting in very hot gases, which expand and in the process, crack the shale. The pumice then flows in and reinforces the fractures enabling the oil and gas to flow freely.

First developed for use in polar regions where ultra low temperatures cause water to freeze, rendering it useless for Fracking, Chimera Energy says its new “dry” process is not only environmentally friendly, but can be adapted for use at any well site in the world.

Chimera Energy via Gizmag