Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Methane gas hydrates

With the quest for clean, alternate energy sources, everyone has been preparing for a post-oil or post-fossil fuel  world. The expectation is that the next widespread energy source would be a clean renewable source with very little greenhouse emission problems. But what if the next big energy source were again to be a fossil fuel?

According to this article, methane gas hydrates has the potential to replace oil as a major energy source. Apparently, these are basically solid blocks of ice stuffed with methane gas molecules, basically natural gas. They are found all across the globe and are very abundant.

From India's point of view, this is a very crucial piece in the energy security puzzle. And India supposedly has a high amount of hydrates off it's shore. Quoting from the article,

Malcolm Lall, coordinator of the Indian National Hydrate Pro­gram, says hydrate re­­sources off the Indian coast are too large to ignore. Hydrate potential there “is sufficient for the energy needs of India for the next 15 years,” he says. “We’re taking this very seriously.” More energy in­­de­­pendence is a huge in­­­centive, he says, and India hopes to do production tests as early as 2013. “The government has given this a lot of priority … [to] get hydrates commercially viable,” he says. “Let’s see who gets it first.” [Link]

All that sounds promising, but we need to remember that this is yet another fossil fuel and usage will produce greenhouse gases, although much lesser than coal or oil. So although this might turn out to be a very crucial fuel source in the years to come, but the search for the mystical clean energy source will still continue.

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