Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Methane Hydrate Beds Cure for Energy Woes?

Japan is planning to mine frozen seabed methane on an industrial scale. The massive beds of frozen natural gas exist in many parts of the world, including offshore under the US East Coast. Indeed, undersea landslides might be one of the causes of Bermuda Triangle ship disappearances, as a sudden release of methyl hydrate underwater causes the sea to bubble and produces a complete loss of buoyancy.
Commercial exploitation of methane hydrate is economically viable when oil trades above $54 a barrel, Japan's government estimated two years ago. The trade ministry is targeting 2016 to start production, corresponding with the scheduled completion of the 16-year government-led test project.

While governments are attracted to an abundant clean fuel, drilling risks disturbing the seabed and triggering an uncontrolled release, says Matsumoto of the University of Tokyo.

``A mass release of methane into the sea and the atmosphere is a risk for global warming,'' he says. ``Massive landslides at the ocean floor must be avoided when drilling at the Nankai Trough.''

The econutjob lobby in the US will predictably oppose mining off the Carolinas & Georgia where giant seabed methane deposits could be profitably extracted. However, the same whackjobs who oppose ANWR in Alaska & offshore in the US will eventually destroy the American economy unless sane citizens elect sane representatives.

It's up to us. All we sane Americans.

1 comment :

Matthew said...

[...]Daylife adds: The dinosaurs and energy independence come together here:

“Methane hydrate was a key cause of the global warming that led to one of the largest extinctions in the earth’s history. By making the best use of our wisdom, knowledge and technology, we should be able to utilize this wisely as a new energy.” — Ryo Matsumoto (University of Tokyo)

This is not methane hydrate’s debut in the news. In September of 2006 John Pickrell wrote in the New Scientist:

“Natural gas, which is mostly methane, is the cleanest fossil fuel by weight, emitting just 40% the greenhouse gases of coal and 25% of oil…When reserves do run low, we may be able to access vast frozen methane hydrate reserves beneath the seabed.”

Just last week ARTiFactor blogged on a Science Museum of Minnesota blog about methane ice and culled from several sources to best describe it, while the blog Dave’s World added yesterday... [...]