Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Electric Fracturing Using Flying Capacitor Multi-Level Converters

Henda Jabberi(1*), Faouzi Ben Ammar(2)

(1) Laboratoire de Recherche Matériaux, Mesures et Applications, Université de Carthage, Institut National des Sciences Appliquées et de Technologies INSAT, Tunisia
(2) Research Laboratory Materials, Measurements and Applications, Université de Carthage, Institut National des Sciences Appliquées et de Technologies INSAT, Tunisia
(*) Corresponding author



The authors propose a new structure using multilevel converters to generate high pulsing voltage discharges in water for electric fracturing process of shale gas. This solution is a new alternative to hydraulic fracturing process able to minimize environmental impacts related to exploration and exploitation of shale gas. This new structure is able to generate shock waves under subsonic and supersonic modes by combining serial connection between two Flying Capacitor Multi-level Converters (FCMC) and capacitor bank controlled by two Thyristors connected in inverse parallel. The two different discharge modes leading to dielectric breakdown in water gap will be studied. The development of supersonic discharge will be investigated electrically using FCMC supplied with 50 kV. The pulse widths of IGBTs are calculated to obtain a bi-exponential waveform characterized by a rise time less than 100 ns and a duration of wave tail around 800 ns. The simulation results are carried out by taking into account the breakdown of dielectric water around inter-electrodes space. Whatever the water breakdown mode, the peak pressure linearly depends from the peak current. Moreover, the electro-acoustic efficiency is better using a supersonic discharge.
Copyright © 2016 Praise Worthy Prize - All rights reserved.


Electrical Discharge in Water; Electrical Fracturing; Flying Capacitor Multi-Level Converters; Shale Gas

Full Text:



A. Vengosha, N. Warnera, R. Jacksona, T. Darraha, “The effects of shale gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing on the quality of water resources in the United States,” Journal of Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, vol. 7, 2013, pp. 863-866.

EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources,” Progress report, 2012.

CIRAIG, “Analyse du cycle de vie et bilan des gaz à effet de serre prospectifs du gaz de schiste du Québec,” Technical report, 2013.

M. I. Finkel, J.Hays, “The implications of unconventional drilling for natural gas: a global public health concern,” Journal of Public Health, vol. 127, October 2013, pp. 889-893.

H. J. ben Jaballah, F. ben Ammar, Life cycle assessment impact of fracking shale gas in Tunisia, The 6th IREC International Renewable Energy Congress, March 24-26, 2015, Sousse, Tunisia.

NETL: National Energy Technology Laboratory, “Life Cycle Analysis of Natural Gas Extraction and Power Generation,” Report of NETL, May 2014.

W. Chen, Electric fracturing materials: Study of the damage and permeability, PhD thesis Pau University France, 2010.

S. Levy, M. Nikolich, I. Alexeff, M. Rader, M.T. Buttram, W.J. Sarjeant, Commercial applications for modulators and pulsed power technology Proc, 20th Power Modulator Symp, pp 8–15, 1992, (Myrtle Beach, CA,).

S. Katsuki, H. Akiyama, A. Abou-Ghazala, K.H. Schoenbach, “Parallel streamer discharge between wire and plane electrodes in water,” IEEE Trans. Dielectr. Electr. Insul, vol. 9, no. 4, August 2002, pp. 498–506.

A. Beroual, M. Zahn,A. Badent, K. Kist, A.J. Schwabe, H. Yamashita, K. Yamazawa, M. Danikas, W.G. Chadband, “Propagation and structure of streamers in liquid dielectrics,” IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag, vol. 14, no. 2, April 1998, pp. 6–17.

I .V. Lisitsyn, H. Nomiyama, S. Katsuki S, H. Akiyama H, “Thermal processes in a streamer discharge in water,” IEEE Trans. Dielectr. Electr. Insul, vol. 6, no. 3, June 1999, pp. 351–356.

F. Jomni, A. Denat, F. Aitken F, Pressure waves and bubble generation in non-polar liquids initiated by a high divergent electric field, in Conduction and breakdown in dielectric liquids, ICDL’96., 12th International Conference on, pp. 247-250, Jul. 1996.

G. Touya, T. Reess, L. Pécastaing, A. Gibert, P. Domens, “Development of subsonic electrical discharges in water and measurements of the associated pressure waves”, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. Vol. 39, December 2006, pp. 5236-5244.

V. Stelmashuk, P. Hoffer, “Shock Waves Generated by an Electrical Discharge on Composite Electrode Immersed in Water With Different Conductivities”, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE, vol. 40, no. 7, 2012.

W. Yi-Bo, W. Shang-Wu, Z. Xin-Wu, “A theoretical estimation of the pre-breakdown-heating time in the underwater discharge acoustic source”, Chin. Phys. B, vol. 21, no. 5, 2012, pp. 055203.

J. Hofman, H. Weisse, 11th IEEE Pulsed Power Conf. (Baltimore, MD), pp. 203–207, 1997.

S. Madhavan, P. Doiphode, M. Kunda, S. Chaturvedi, “Modeling of shock-wave generation in water by electrical discharge,” IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci, vol. 28, no. 5, October 2000, pp. 1552–1557.

S. Pronko, G. Schofield, M. Hamelin, F. Kitzinger F, Megajoule pulsed power experiments for plasma blasting mining applications, in Pulsed Power Conference, 9th IEEE Int, vol. 1, pp. 15, Jun. 1993.

T. Weise, J. Hofmann, M. Loffler, Fragmentation of composite materials by electro thermally generated pressure pulses, in Pulsed Power Conference, 9th IEEE Int, vol. 2, pp. 1194-1199, Jun. 1995.

S. Boev, V. Vajov, D. Jgun, I. Kalyatski , Research of conditions of material destruction by electric pulse discharges, in Proceedings KORUS. The fourth Korea-Russia International Symposium on Science and Technology, pp. 346–349, 2000, Ulsan, South Korea .

G. Touya, Contribution to the experimental study of electrical discharges in water and associated pressure waves: Making a 100kJ industrial prototype for the treatment of waste electrical pulsed power, PhD thesis Pau University France, 2003.

P. Ceccato, Filamentary plasma discharge inside water : initiation and propagation of plasma of plasma in a dense medium, PhD thesis, Ecole Polytechnique Palaiseau (Paris), 2009.

J. Martin, Design and characterization of pressure wave generated by an electric discharge in water. Application to the electric fracturing rocks, PhD thesis Pau University France, 2014.

T. H. Martin, M. Williams, M. Kristiansen, J.C. Martin, on Pulsed Power. Springer, 1996.

I. V. Timoshkin, Electrical disintegration of ores and slags and liberation of valuable inclusions, University of London and the Diploma of Imperial College, 2001.

I. V. Timoshkin, R. A. Fouracre, M. J. Given, S. J. Macgregor, “Hydrodynamic modelling of transient cavities in fluids generated by high voltage spark discharges,” J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., vol. 39, no. 22, November 2006, pp. 4808–4817.

J. W. Mackersie, I.V. Timoshkin, S.J. Macgregor, “Generation of high-power ultrasound by spark discharges in water,” IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, vol. 33, no. 5, October 2005, pp. 1715–1724.

M. J. Kushner, W.D. Kimura, S.R. Byron, “Arc resistance of laser-triggered spark gaps,” Journal of applied physics, vol. 58, no. 5, 1985, pp. 1744–1751.

J. Martin, T. Reess, A. De Ferron, F. Rey-Bethbeber, A. Jacques, O. Maurel, C. La Borderie, G. Pijaudier-Cabot, A. Gibert, “Electrical and Static fracturing of a reservoir,” US. Patent, WO/2012/123461, 2012.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Please send any question about this web site to
Copyright © 2005-2020 Praise Worthy Prize