Ben Franklin

INVESTING IN PENNSYLVANIA’S FUTURE

New Client Spotlight: Nittany Extraction Technologies

Demand for oil and natural gas from unconventional geological formations—such as the Marcellus Shale—has risen dramatically in recent years. As a result, demand has also risen for “proppants”—sand, ceramics, or man-made particles that are injected with water as part of the hydraulic fracturing to “prop” open cracks in the shale formation to allow the flow of oil and gas.

Nittany Extraction TechnologiesNittany Extraction Technologies (State College, PA) is a startup company with an innovative new take on proppants, which are not currently manufactured anywhere else in Pennsylvania. The company’s technology, known as PennProp, earned it initial seed funding of more than $167,000 from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA (BFTP/CNP) in April 2011.

Nittany Extraction was launched as a spinout from Penn State University in September 2010. The goal was to commercialize the work of professors John Hellman, Barry Scheetz and co-inventor Ryan Koseski, with BFTP/CNP’s former Executive-in-Residence Marty Bradley managing the company with his colleague Tim Hurley.

Pennsylvania is expected to be the largest producer of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale play, the world’s second-largest natural gas deposit. The ability to manufacture cost-effective proppants here in the state represents a significant commercial opportunity.

“Our mission is to convert waste materials into high-quality proppants to improve the productivity of oil and gas wells,” said Bradley. “We are grateful for the financial and business support BFTP/CNP has provided our company to get started.”

The PennProp project is developing new manufacturing processes to produce proppants from a variety of waste materials, including mine tailings from a Pennsylvania mining operation, offering a beneficial reuse of byproduct that is currently being landfilled. Other PennProp benefits include improved well productivity and reduced transportation costs.

Nittany Extraction recently won the Technical Breakthrough Award at the Shale Gas Insight Innovation Expo. Sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition; this inaugural conference highlighted emerging technologies that will have a positive impact on the Marcellus Natural Gas Industry.

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This article was featured in
Keynotes November, 2011
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