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 to store greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

Methane hydrates are literally ice that burns -- frozen methane (the main component of natural gas) found in vast natural deposits beneath the seafloor in coastal areas of the United States and certain other parts of the world. When brought to the surface, hydrates pop and sizzle as they release gas and burst into flame if ignited. Known hydrate deposits hold enough natural gas to supply the world for centuries.

One barrier to exploiting this treasure has been difficulty in making gas hydrates in the laboratory that could be used for research on ways to utilize these substances as a fuel. Akihiro Yamasaki and colleagues have found that addition of an additive made from beta-cyclodextrin accelerates methane hydrate formation 5-fold. Their report is scheduled for the Nov. 15 issue of the ACS bimonthly journal Energy & Fuels.

Cyclodextrins are a family of polymers produced from starch. Their wide range of uses includes the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Cyclodextrin is the active ingredient in a popular home deodorizing product.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: New method allows for greater variation in band gap tunability

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Methane is leaking from permafrost offshore Siberia

Dec 22, 2014

Yamal Peninsula in Siberia has recently become world famous. Spectacular sinkholes, appeared as out of nowhere in the permafrost of the area, sparking the speculations of significant release of greenhouse ...

Recommended for you

Pinholes are pitfalls for high performance solar cells

Jan 30, 2015

The most popular next-generation solar cells under development may have a problem – the top layer is full of tiny pinholes, researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University ...

Chemistry in a trillionth of a second

Jan 30, 2015

Chemists at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with colleagues at the Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) and Heriot-Watt University (HWU), can now follow chemical ...

User comments : 0

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.