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December 08, 2006



If this much more efficient transport technology is used to harvest gas that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere, it actually helps reverse global climate change.

A lot of natural gas is just released into the air now or burned because it is too far from consumers. In addition some method of collecting gas from under permafrost and from ocean floor methane hydrate might be developed. That would prevent gas escaping as melting is ocurring.


Do you know that methane atmospheric concentration has been stabilizing for more then 10 years (and nobody knows why nor has predicted it!).


Hadn't heard that Dem. Any link to that data?

It does not match up with the extra release from melting permafrost and ocean floor methane hydrate ice deposits. Or the extra release from chemical agriculture and fertlizer and manure runnoff.

Paul Dietz

One thing that affects atmospheric methane is the level of atmospheric oxidants, such as hydroxyl radicals or chlorine radicals. The higher the levels of these radicals in the troposphere, the more quickly methane is oxidized and removed.

OH gets consumed by carbon monoxide, so reducing emissions of that gas would free up oxidants to destroy methane, mimicing a reduction in the emission of that gas. Perhaps this is what's been happening.

Paul Dietz

I wonder if you used seawater to make the hydrate, the ice would be free of salt. If so, desalination would be a nice secondary product.

Jim from The Energy Blog

Paul-Something I know quite a bit about in that I spent many a year working on freeze desalination. Although I did not work with hydrates, I knew several people who did. There is no doubt that the hydrate would be free of salt. Whether it had any inclusions of salt, the shape of the crystals and the size of the crystals all determine whether the salt water adhering to the crystals could be washed off. It is easily washed off from water ice if the crystals are above ~0.2 mm. The people working on hydrates, usually of butane or isobutane, generally had smaller crystals that were hard to wash. The retention time to make large hydrate crystals was to long to be econommical. Since the methane hydrates sit on the ocean floor for a very long time there is a possibility they would grow by the phenomena called regelation. Making the crystals and washing are the most difficult parts of the process, so at least half is done by nature with methane. The processes were to mechanically complex for a commodity as cheap as water and R&D was generally abandoned when Reverse Osmosis became economical. Having the crystals already made would reduce the complexity. Since seperation of the methane and the water is a necessary part of the methane recovery it probably would not be a big deal. But there were problems with removing the butane from the water down to the levels required for potable water.

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