Natural gas hydrates – realizing the potential.

“Hydrates occur in vast quantities under the oceans and permafrost, where tremendous pressure traps gas in tiny cages or crystals made of water molecules. When brought to the surface the cages melt, releasing methane gas that will burn if lit with a match, generating “fiery ice” — a potential energy source that has long intrigued researchers….

For the Japanese, drilling down through Arctic permafrost to get at “fiery ice” was much less daunting than boring into the deep sea.

They came up with $48 million — with $3 million from Canada — for an epic experiment in the Northwest Territories that has generated tantalizing evidence, to be detailed in Tokyo this week, that frozen gas hydrates may live up to their billing as a plentiful new energy source.

The Canadian and Japanese team will describe how they got the hydrates to release gas, like bubbles out of champagne. In a world first, the team got a production well to generate a steady flow of gas for six days, fuelling a flame in the Arctic darkness.

“The message is quite clear, you can produce gas hydrates using conventional techniques,” says Scott Dallimore, a senior scientist at Natural Resources Canada, who co-led the project in the Mackenzie Delta. Over two winters the researchers drilled down more than a kilometre into a 150-metre-thick layer on the edge of the Beaufort Sea at Mallik — the most concentrated known deposit of the frozen fuel in the world.”

Source:http://www.canada.com/technology/Arctic+fiery+potential+energy+source/3829993/story.html

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