The Michigan Engineer News Center

Emmy Award for Fracktopia documentary

Michigan Engineering's short documentary Fracktopia has won an Emmy Award from the Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.| Short Read

Brian Ellis, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, is featured in the documentary, which examines the process and consequences of hydraulic fracturing and shale gas drilling.

Hydraulic fracturing is changing the nation’s energy landscape, and some say that’s happening faster than researchers can determine its impacts, and faster than policymakers can regulate the practice.

Fracktopia visits a gas well in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania — one of the earliest epicenters of shale gas drilling. There, industry experts and drillers explain how they do it. The documentary gives viewers a glimpse into life in a shale field from the perspective of a farmer who sold his mineral rights and a homeowner who didn’t when her neighbors did. It also includes perspectives of researchers developing more sustainable fracking processes as well as those looking into what might happen over the decades as chemicals injected during the fracking process react with the Earth.

Fracktopia was produced by Marcin Szczepanski, Nicole Casal Moore and Dan Kim. It premiered at a town hall meeting sponsored by the College of Engineering and Michigan Radio and moderated by investigative reporter Lester Graham. The video was part of a digital multimedia experience that includes photos and stories that delve into the process of shale gas extraction, research into the consequences, and the future of fracking in Michigan.

To watch Fracktopia, please click the box below.

Researchers
  • Portrait of Brian Ellis

    Brian Ellis

A robotic, prosthetic leg

Space motor helps make robotic prosthetic leg more comfortable and extends battery life

Getting rid of some gears enabled a free-swinging knee, regenerative braking and brought the noise level down from vacuum cleaner to fridge. | Short Read