Toward tapping the potential of 'stranded' natural gas

February 28, 2007

Newly discovered chemical catalysts may be an answer to the century-long search for economical ways of using natural gas now burned or "flared" as waste in huge quantities, scientists in the United States and Germany report. Their study is scheduled for the March 7 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Johannes A. Lercher and colleagues at the Technical University of Munich and Dow Chemical Company explain that 30 percent to 60 percent of the world's natural gas is classified as "stranded," meaning that it cannot be used locally or transported economically to other markets. When produced in the course of pumping crude oil, such gas is vented to the atmosphere or burned at the wellhead.

That wasted natural gas is mainly methane, a compound in great demand as a chemical feedstock, a basic raw material for making chemicals that are subsequently used to make hundreds of medical, commercial and industrial products. No practical technology has been available, however, for using the methane in natural gas as a chemical feedstock. The new study describes research on lanthanum-based catalysts that convert methane into a compound that would be an ideal chemical feedstock.

Source: ACS

Explore further: Butterfly wings help break the status quo in gas sensing

Related Stories

Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon

August 27, 2015

Physicists at the University of Basel succeed in synthesizing boron-doped graphene nanoribbons and characterizing their structural, electronic and chemical properties. The modified material could potentially be used as a ...

Recommended for you

Comet Hitchhiker would take tour of small bodies

September 2, 2015

Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn't easy. You have to figure out how to land your spacecraft safely and then get it on its way to the next destination. The landing part is especially tricky for asteroids ...

Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells by opening them up

September 1, 2015

The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient. A Biophysical Journal study published September 1 reveals exactly how the venom's ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.