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Alternate Natural Energy Source to Transition to Renewable Energy

Principal Investigator(s): 

Abstract: 

Previous work has focused on developing a thermodynamic model for predicting the equilibrium pressures (or temperatures) of gas hydrates. This thermodynamic model along with a mass transfer model for methane hydrates in the seafloor suggests that there are three orders of magnitude more methane in hydrated form than in conventional global reserves (Klauda & Sandler. Energy & Fuels. 2005, 19, 459). These results have huge implications for an alternate source of natural gas reserves within the U.S. to reduce dependency on foreign energy sources.

Methane map
Natural Seafloor Hydrate

The crystal structure of hydrates depends on the composition of natural gas and thermal conditions. There are three known structures (sI, sII and sH) of hydrates, but there is limited thermodynamic modeling of the sH hydrate. sH hydrate is found in regions with heavier hydrocarbons and has been discovered recently in situ from the Cascadia margin off Oregon (Lu et al. Nature. 2007, 445, 303). The goal of this portion of the project is to develop a thermodynamic model for sH hydrates based on past work (Klauda & Sandler. Chem. Eng. Sci. 2003, 58, 27). Ultimately, this work will be important in future exploration and drilling for fossil fuels in the seafloor. Collaborations involve using models to predict local hot spots for gas hydrates for oil companies to begin drilling for this alternate source of natural gas.