China Finds New Energy Source By Extracting Natural Gas From Flammable Ice

Posted: May 24 2017, 5:01am CDT | by , Updated: May 24 2017, 6:07am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
China Extracted Natural Gas From Flammable Ice
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  • Energy Breakthrough: China Finds New Energy Source by Extracting Natural Gas From Flammable Ice Found Beneath the South China Sea

China has managed to squeeze out some natural gas from icy remains that were flammable.

Chinese engineers have extracted natural gas from ice lumps found underneath the South China Sea. The previous year, the Chinese government announced that geologists had found lots of methane hydrate deposits. This is also known as flammable ice. Recently, they were able to harvest this novel fossil fuel.

According to Sciencealert, it is a very interesting substance. It looks like ice but actually consists of methane trapped in a lattice framework of water molecules.

Thus if you strike a matchstick on fire and alight this frozen liquid, it will not melt but it will catch fire instead. These deposits are available in areas of low temperature and medium pressure.

The twin conditions combine to segregate methane in a particular manner. This usually happens in such areas as the oceanic bed underneath hundreds of meters of water.

Gas is often present here in the form of hydrates. However, change the temperature or pressure variables and the gas is immediately released from its solid structure. Thus the engineers who mined this ore of natural gas were extra careful lest they lose the supply by their interference.

The gas deposits are stacked one upon the other in a dense matrix. It is a lucrative fuel source. In fact it could end our dependence upon all the other fossil fuels.

The commercialization of this fuel reserve is being brought into question though since already there has been enough pollution throughout the world thanks to fossil fuels.

Do we need more of this? Interest in these fuel sources began in the 70s. Today the level of curiosity concerning them has reached a peak. Things began with Japan and now China too has begun looking into this energy bonanza.

Besides these countries, the US and Canada are also looking into this potential goldmine of sorts. China has been more of a latecomer to this whole energy setup. Recently, Chinese engineers sent a bore head into the sea to extract gas and turn it into natural gas.

According to South China Morning Post, the trial was radical in that it was for purely commercial purposes. China means business. The methane hydrate does have its complications. For one thing, extracting it is like picking strawberries in a field. It is a tough and cumbersome job.

According to BBC, China may stand to gain from this venture yet extracting the methane hydrate will be a backbreaking task.

This is a major breakthrough which will lead to a new source of fuel for China and other countries looking to beef up their economies. While this fuel source shows promise, it is also bad news for the ecology which has already suffered immensely from the burning of fossil fuels.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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