Japan extracts gas from methane hydrate in world first

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 12, 2013 1:59 PM GMT
    Fracking is just the tip of the iceberg (or shard of methane hydrate as the case may be)...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21752441

    Japan says it has successfully extracted natural gas from frozen methane hydrate off its central coast, in a world first.

    Methane hydrates, or clathrates, are a type of frozen "cage" of molecules of methane and water.

    The gas field is about 50km away from Japan's main island, in the Nankai Trough.

    Researchers say it could provide an alternative energy source for Japan which imports all its energy needs.

    Other countries including Canada, the US and China have been looking into ways of exploiting methane hydrate deposits as well.

    Pilot experiments in recent years, using methane hydrates found under land ice, have shown that methane can be extracted from the deposits.
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    Mar 13, 2013 4:01 PM GMT
    More here:
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/03/12/a-song-of-fire-ice/

    Gaia seems to like fossil fuels much more than many of her followers. Earlier today, Japan announced that it successfully accessed ocean deposits of a new, relatively clean-burning, and hyper-abundant energy source: fire ice. More accurately called methane hydrate, fire ice exists under Arctic permafrost and deep underwater, primarily on seabeds along continental shelves. Up to this point it has seemed out of reach. Not anymore. . . .

    Greens will already be familiar with this compound, as it plays a key role in many global warming nightmare scenarios. In the worst-case, this is how it would work: greenhouse gasses warm the earth, raising the temperature of the oceans. As the temperature rises, the “ice cages” trapping methane on our seabeds melts. The methane then makes its way into our atmosphere, further warming our earth, creating a positive feedback loop of destructive warming.

    This is certainly enough to strike fear into the hearts of us all. Fortunately there’s a way around this problem. Methane is one of the world’s most powerful greenhouse gasses—about 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide—but when burned, it is cleaner than both coal and oil. By purposefully accessing these methane hydrates, we could potentially stave off this feedback loop and provide the world with a new energy source at the same time.


    And the abundance of this stuff.. "experts say is at least twice as plentiful as all known reserves of natural gas."
  • Kel_

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    Mar 13, 2013 4:07 PM GMT
    Pretty good article, and good for Japan. All other nations could learn from this.
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    Mar 13, 2013 6:16 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidMore here:
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/03/12/a-song-of-fire-ice/



    This is certainly enough to strike fear into the hearts of us all. Fortunately there’s a way around this problem. Methane is one of the world’s most powerful greenhouse gasses—about 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide—but when burned, it is cleaner than both coal and oil. By purposefully accessing these methane hydrates, we could potentially stave off this feedback loop and provide the world with a new energy source at the same time.


    And the abundance of this stuff.. "experts say is at least twice as plentiful as all known reserves of natural gas."


    The methane is trapped for millions of year and is released into the air slowly. Tapping into this energy source probably increase the amount of trapped methane bubbling through water into the air and burning them drives up carbon dioxide level in the air, which is just another greenhouse gas. I don't think it will would actually "stave off the feedback loop" or clean up the air as the article describe.