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Methane Hydrates....Many possiblities for the future!!!

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posted on Nov, 4 2004 @ 08:14 PM
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For a long time we have looked for ways of changing seawater into fresh water. There is new method that changes seawater into fresh water by using Hydrates. Hydrates are also being looked into for sources of natural gas. But before I go into this let me explain what Hydrates are.

Hydrates are found in large quantities in nature mainly in marine sediments. They reside deep under the ocean and in artic areas. It is a crystal like in consistency and is a combination of natural gas and water. The hydrate is a cage like structure; the water forms this pattern around the methane molecule. When Hydrate is formed the salt from the water is left out. Hydrate contains 46 molecules of water and eight molecules of methane making (CH4) 5.75(H2O). When Hydrate is formed the salt from the water is left out

We have known about hydrates for about a century but never really thought about them until now. Around 1930 natural gas pipelines were extended into colder regions. The pipe lines became clogged they expected to find ice but instead found hydrates. We began looking at hydrates in another instance while in the 1980ís Michael Max began working for the Navy. The Navy wanted to know if Hydrates were disrupting their ability to track soviet submarines.

In the mid 1990ís Max began experiments with changing seawater to freshwater. Maxís theory was that if you put a tube from the ocean floor, where the hydrates form, to the surface that the seawater would become fresh water. At the ocean floor he would mix methane with the water to create hydrate. In the tube would he a pump to suck up the hydrate. As it rises to the surface seawater pressure decreases forcing the hydrate to melt. This releases the water and methane from each other leaving the distilled water. This water is less dense then the seawater and would stay at the surface level to be pumped out.

Another topic that is of interest about hydrates is the theory that they could be used to supply the world with natural gas. In 1995, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) figured that the US has 200,000 trillion cubic feet of gas hydrates. This could double our natural gas resources. World wide it is estimated at 400 million trillion cubic feet. If we tapped into this we could supply the world with energy for thousands of years.

It is obvious the hydrates will be a valuable resource in the future. Distillation plants are becoming too expensive to maintain. Also natural gas use in the future is supposed to increase by 40%. Iím sure soon many new processes for removing gas will be made. We definitely are going to hear about Hydrates a lot more in the future.


Here are some useful links were I got alot of information:

fossil.energy.gov...

www.ornl.gov...


[edit on 4-11-2004 by thedonz]

[edit on 4-11-2004 by thedonz]




posted on Nov, 5 2004 @ 11:41 PM
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Hah, that is strange, my dad told me about that same exact thing last night.

He said the largest problem though, is getting it out. Since, if you screw up and catch it on fire, the whole area will just explode causing the ocean to sink a smidge and we will have some VERY BAD tsunamis coming in.



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