Japan to test-drill for seabed 'burning ice'

Jul 25, 2011
An attendant highlights an experiment with "burning ice," methane hydrate, at an energy resources event. Japan will seek to extract seabed deposits of the energy-rich mineral in the world's first such offshore experiment, a news report said Monday.

Japan will seek to extract natural gas from seabed deposits of methane hydrate, also known as "burning ice", in the world's first such offshore experiment, a news report said Monday.

The test is scheduled for a stretch of ocean southwest of Tokyo, between Shizuoka and Wakayama prefectures, over several weeks in the fiscal year to March 2013, the Nikkei financial daily said.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is preparing to request more than 10 billion yen ($127.5 million) for the project, the report said.

The government will support further research and aims for commercial drilling to start early in the next decade, the newspaper said.

Methane hydrates are found in environments with high pressure and low temperatures such as the ocean floors, often near continental faultlines, where the gas crystallises on contact with cold sea water.

The offshore experiment, if successful, would be the world's first, the Nikkei said. Methane was previously extracted from on land in Canada in 2008 using technology developed in Japan.

Japan has been looking to diversify its since the powerful March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered the world's worst in 25 years at the Daiichi plant northeast of Tokyo.

Resource-poor Japan relies heavily on energy imports from the Middle East and until recently met one third of its electricity needs with nuclear power, but now plans also to boost renewables such as solar and .

Explore further: Lazard's numbers show cost-competitive gains for wind, solar

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Natural gas supplies could be augmented with methane hydrate

Jan 29, 2010

Naturally occurring methane hydrate may represent an enormous source of methane, the main component of natural gas, and could ultimately augment conventional natural gas supplies, says a new congressionally mandated report ...

Japan deep-sea robots to seek minerals: report

Jan 07, 2011

Resource-poor Japan plans to use deep-sea mining robots to exploit rare earths and precious metals on the ocean floors around the island nation within a decade, according to a media report.

A new acceleration additive for making 'ice that burns'

Oct 23, 2006

Japanese scientists are reporting discovery of an additive that can speed up the formation of methane hydrates. Those strange substances have sparked excitement about their potential as a new energy resource and a deep freeze ...

China looks to 'combustible ice' as a fuel source

Mar 12, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Buried below the tundra of China’s Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is a type of frozen natural gas containing methane and ice crystals that could supply energy to China for 90 years. China discovered ...

Recommended for you

Are electric cars greener? Depends on where you live

52 minutes ago

Long thought a thing of the future, electric cars are becoming mainstream. Sales in the United States of plug-in, electric vehicles nearly doubled last year. Credible forecasts see the number rising within ...

Building a better battery

2 hours ago

Imagine an electric car with the range of a Tesla Model S - 265 miles - but at one-fifth the $70,000 price of the luxury sedan. Or a battery able to provide many times more energy than today's technology ...

Researchers find way to turn sawdust into gasoline

6 hours ago

Researchers at KU Leuven's Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis have successfully converted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline. Using a new chemical process, they were able to convert the cellulose ...

Nanodot team aims to charge phones in less than a minute

11 hours ago

The world of smartphone users, which is a very large base indeed, is ripe for better battery solutions and an Israel-based company has an attractive solution in store, in the form of nanodot batteries that ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LuckyExplorer
not rated yet Jul 25, 2011
Great idea to cast out devils by Beelzebub.
Stop nuclear power and try to release a greenhouse gas by burning methanhydrate from the ground of the sea, while transferring it from the ground is very risky and a lot of methane (again a greenhouse gas) leaks.

The only target-aimed solutions are energy saving technologies and sustainable "alternative" energy sources.

Every other solution is nonsense
Arkaleus
not rated yet Jul 25, 2011
Great. I'll watch Ergo Proxy again and get ready.
http://en.wikiped...pothesis
Snickeringshadow
not rated yet Jul 26, 2011
Didn't Japan have a plan a while back to build a solar-harvesting space station? Whatever happened with that?
holoman
not rated yet Jul 30, 2011
Well, thank you very much.

I told these officials about their methane ice ~5 years ago.

Just shows no integrity by Japanese government.

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.