Energy Department seeks methane hydrate proposals

Apr 13, 2014 by Dan Joling

The U.S. Department of Energy is looking for research proposals that could advance what's known about methane hydrates, a potential new source of fossil fuel.

Methane is the main ingredient of natural gas. The department describes methane hydrate as a lattice of ice that traps methane molecules but does not bind them chemically. Methane is released when the material is warmed or depressurized.

Methane hydrate is found on Alaska's North Slope and in sediment on the outer continental shelf.

The department is offering grant money for research projects in Alaska that could explore how to economically extract methane. The department is also seeking researchers to document methane hydrate deposits in outer continental shelf waters.

The department anticipates federal funding of $20 million over two years for .

Explore further: Methane hydrates and global warming

3.4 /5 (5 votes)
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 ...

Methane hydrates and global warming

Jan 02, 2014

Methane hydrates are fragile. At the sea floor the ice-like solid fuel composed of water and methane is only stable at high pressure and low temperature. In some areas, for instance in the North Atlantic ...

Camels emit less methane than cows or sheep

Apr 10, 2014

When digesting ruminants exhale methane. Their contribution to this global greenhouse gas is considerable. So far the assumption had been that camels with similar digestion produce the same amount of the ...

Recommended for you

The state of shale

35 minutes ago

University of Pittsburgh researchers have shared their findings from three studies related to shale gas in a recent special issue of the journal Energy Technology, edited by Götz Veser, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Che ...

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

Dec 18, 2014

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

Dec 18, 2014

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

Cook farm waste into energy

Dec 17, 2014

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

Developing a reliable wind 'super grid' for Europe

Dec 17, 2014

EU researchers are involved in the development of a pan-European 'super grid' capable of dispersing wind power across Member States. This will bring more renewable energy into homes and businesses, help reduce ...

User comments : 9

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Apr 13, 2014
The biggest issue will probably be storage...
Vietvet
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2014
The biggest issue will be extraction without setting off a chain reaction of methane escaping into the atmosphere.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
The biggest issue will be extraction without setting off a chain reaction of methane escaping into the atmosphere.


The elephant in the room is that the methane has to be extracted in the long term, or it'll come out on its own at some point in the distant future.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
What part of "fossil fuels are an environmental problem" don't they get?
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
What part of "fossil fuels are an environmental problem" don't they get?


You HAVE to hedge your bets, in case the whole renewable energy thing doesn't start working soon.

It's better to have climate change and energy than mass starvation and collapse of society. You tell people not to eat and breathe because it's hurting the planet, they ask what's the point of having a planet if you can't eat and breathe?
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
You HAVE to hedge your bets, in case the whole renewable energy thing doesn't start working soon.

Since it's working everywhere where it's being implemented - what exactly is there to hedge your bets against?

Using methane hydrate is the worst of all possibilities. You get two potent greenhouse gases for the price of one. It'd be 'better' to stick to coal.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
Since it's working everywhere where it's being implemented - what exactly is there to hedge your bets against?


Oh really?

Be honest now. Renewable energy is facing massive scalability problems that you can't just wish away.

Using methane hydrate is the worst of all possibilities. You get two potent greenhouse gases for the price of one. It'd be 'better' to stick to coal.


Methane hydrate is water and methane. CH4•5.75H2O. Once you burn it you get water and CO2. It's no better or worse than natural gas, and you're being disingenuous again.
Eikka
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
Besides, methane hydrates could become a major source of clean hydrogen gas, becuse there's 2-10 times as much methane in known repositories than there are known sources of natural gas, and the extraction process involves pumping in CO2 which frees and displaces the methane, and traps the CO2 in the ocean floor.

So, an extraction platform could reform the methane into H2 and CO2 and pump the CO2 right back in.

Although transporting the methane would be easier and cheaper as such.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 14, 2014
Renewable energy is facing massive scalability problems that you can't just wish away.

Where exactly? There's countries that have substantial amounts of renewables in the mix without outages. That the energy infrastructure needs to be adapted is without question, but there's no ball breaker problem out there when it comes to switching over (even industrialized nations like Spain with over 40%, Switzerland with close to 60% and Norway with more than 96% of electricity production).

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.