Today's ceramic proppants come either from overseas -- Brazil, Russia or China -- or from the "kaolin belt" in Georgia and eastern Alabama. That is because they must contain either kaolin or bauxite to work in current formulations.
Austin-based Brownwood Clay Holdings, LLC, (BCH) is announcing the development of a method for making ceramic proppant out of a type of clay found near many of the top shale formations which, if proven commercially viable, could slash the cost and the delivery time for this type of proppant.
The product is currently completing the testing phase, according to Gary Davis, co-operating manager of BCH, and is looking for a partner to manufacture the proppant. Should they find one in 2013, Davis said they could have product ready for delivery by 2015.
The idea has been under consideration for two to three years, starting with the consideration of how to utilize a clay deposit on 476 acres of land BCH owned near Brownwood. BCH consists of a number of owners of this land, some of which have been connected with the property for more than 50 years, others for just a few years. The clay had previously been used for brick and tile, but Davis and his associates were looking for greater uses.