Monday, January 7, 2008

Japan Mines 'Flammable Ice'

Fat Knowledge had a couple posts on methane hydrates late last month that I've been meaning to highlight.
In reverse order:

Looks like China and India aren't the only ones trying to mine methane hydrates.Japan is joining the U.S. and Canada in test drilling for methane even as scientists express concerns about any uncontrolled release of the frozen chemical.

Japanese engineers have found enough ``flammable ice'' to meet its gas use demands for 14 years. Billions of tons of methane hydrate, frozen chunks of chemical-laced water buried in sediment some 3,000 feet under the Pacific Ocean floor, may help Japan win energy independence from the Middle East and Indonesia. Trapped within sheets of ice up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) thick is an estimated 40 trillion cubic feet of crystalline methane encased in an ocean trench called the Nankai Trough, 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast of the main Honshu Island....MORE

China and India Exploit Icy Energy Reserves

I wrote about methane hydrates a long time ago. As the graph shows, there is a ton (make that billions of tons) of energy stored in them. And now it looks like they might start to be exploited.

China and India have reported massive finds of frozen methane gas off their coasts, which they hope will satisfy their energy needs.

World reserves of the frozen gas are enormous. Geologists estimate that significantly more hydrocarbons are bound in the form of methane hydrate than in all known reserves of coal, natural gas and oil combined. "There is simply so much of it that it cannot be ignored," says leading expert Gerhard Bohrman of the Research Center for Ocean Margins (RCOM) in the northern German city of Bremen....MUCH MORE