The shale gas industry, which is expanding in the US and China, uses the gum in fracking—a process where a mixture of water (95 per cent), sand (4.5 per cent) and guar gum (0.5 per cent) is injected under high pressure into an oil-or gas-bearing rock to fracture it. The gum’s viscous property decreases fluid loss and friction, thereby reducing energy consumption and increasing gas or oil recovery. Even 0.001 to 0.05 per cent of guar gum can reduce friction by 20 to 70 per cent.
Guar gum is an extract of the guar bean, where it acts as a food and water store. The guar bean is principally grown in India and Pakistan, with smaller crops grown in the U.S., Australia, China, and Africa. The drought-resistant guar bean can be eaten as a green bean, fed to cattle, or used in green manure. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, pale, off-white colored, coarse to fine ground powder. Indeed Guar is vegetable, India is native of guar or cluster bean where it is used as a vegetable. For hundreds of years Guar has been used as vegetable in India. It is also used as a cattle food, and as a green manure crop in agriculture.