As America reaches unprecedented levels of energy self-sufficiency, there is growing movement to ensure that natural gas sites are as environmentally friendly as possible. With that in mind, more energy companies are spending time and money to innovate products that both aid in creating an eco-friendly environment, and save money too.

Halliburton, one of the largest oilfield services companies in the world, created new fracking machines that use gravity and electricity generated via solar panels to fracture rocks and harness previously untapped energy. These contraptions, named SandCastle, were born out of the company’s $2.04 billion budget for research and development in 2011, a 32 percent increase from two years before. SandCastles’ produce significantly less noise than traditional fracking methods, which often uses diesel engines. Moreover, in the first nine months of 2012, the devices saved 950,000 gallons of diesel, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 20 million pounds.

Other energy companies have been following the trend, and increasing their research budgets in an effort to determine how to make fracking techniques even more eco-friendly. The top four oil service companies spent $2 billion on R&D last year, according to Businessweek. Ecologix, a manufacturer of waste water equipment, and General Electric have created products to recycle wastewater from fracking via a separation technique, and water cleaning boiler system, respectively. Other companies are experimenting with various chemicals to reduce any additives that may be used during fracking.

Source: Businessweek