Toward tapping the potential of 'stranded' natural gas

Feb 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: Recipe for antibacterial plastic: Plastic plus egg whites

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Unexplained warm layer discovered in Venus' atmosphere

Mar 25, 2015

A group of Russian, European and American scientists have found a warm layer in Venus' atmosphere, the nature of which is still unknown. The researchers made the discovery when compiling a temperature map ...

A new spin on Saturn's peculiar rotation

Mar 25, 2015

Tracking the rotation speed of solid planets, like the Earth and Mars, is a relatively simple task: Just measure the time it takes for a surface feature to roll into view again. But giant gas planets Jupiter ...

Recommended for you

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.