Keith Hester, Ph.D.
Energy potential of natural gas hydrates: today and beyond
Wednesday — October 2, 2013
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.
Following the discovery of methane trapped in naturally-occurring gas hydrates (NGH), their energy potential has led to increased research. Being largely (>99%) methane, the energy contained is the cleanest possible from a fossil fuel source. For countries with limited energy resources, such as Japan and India, methane trapped in NGH could provide a level of energy independence.
NGH occur naturally in oceanic and permafrost sediments. Several large-scale pilot tests have been performed recently. Japan has just announced successful production of methane from hydrates in an offshore environment, a World first. Another recent pilot explored the viability of directly exchanging CO2 with CH4 in NGH, allowing for simultaneous energy production and carbon sequestration.
At present, NGH remain an unconventional resource and will likely remain as such for the near future. Along with an overview of hydrates as a resource, their distribution in nature, production methods, and technical/economic challenges remaining will be presented.