Powdered Methane Could Help Harness Energy Source.
Sept. 16, 2008 -- Most people know methane as a component of natural gas. But chemists in the U.K. have developed a way to create a solid form of the gas that looks like granulated sugar and can be stored and poured.
Methane could power the world. Two methane hydrate deposits off the coast of South Carolina reportedly hold enough natural gas to power the United States for a hundred years. Other estimates say that worldwide methane deposits contain more energy than coal, oil and all other fossil fuels combined [LOL...there are other so-called "fossil" fuels that we don't know about?].
"There is a huge amount of energy in these resources," said Cooper. "The question is how much of that material can we recover."
Most of that methane is locked inside ice crystals in the Arctic or at the bottom of the ocean, where the pressure is high, the temperature is low, or both, which makes extracting those deposits difficult. ...
Easily trapping gases like CO2, methane and hydrogen could be useful, but first it has to be economical, said both Cooper and outside experts who are cautious about its expense.
Michael Max, who uses hydrates for desalination at Marine Desalination Systems, echoes Cooper.
"It's an interesting result," said Max. "But we don't see how this could be developed commercially."
Max points to Mitsui Group technology that mechanically presses methane hydrate into pea-sized pebbles, making them more stable for transportation and use. However it's stored and transported, finding a cheaper way to gather, store and transport methane and other gasses may eventually help use alternative natural resources.
"The economics of this are far from obvious," said Cooper. "This is a preliminary result and we have to think hard about the costs involved."