Saturday, May 5, 2012

Methane Hydrates?

If the technical obstacles to recovering Methane Hydrates are overcome, I will have to change the name of this Blog.

I have to wonder if this is election year marketing are not... given that the government is only "pouring" an additional $6 Million in to the program... well, that means $5 Million for Lobbyists and Campaign operatives and $1 Million for the program... given that drilling a small, land based 20 barrel per day well in the U.S. is about $500k...

Still... Worth keeping an eye on...

Or perhaps not.

Wikipedia reports that the volumes and deposits that Dr. Ken Deffeyes (from his books early last decade) and others believed to exist in nature were significantly overstated. Of course, given how wrong the Peak Nat Gas folks turned out to be...




6 comments:

Stephen B. said...

I saw that hydrates story a few days ago and who knows? Maybe something will come of it.

But I don't think it will matter much. Okay, we'll become even more of a natural gas-powered society than we are already. But there are *so* many other things going on in society, in finance, in government, what with the hyper concentration of wealth into a relative few hands, the mental atrophying of much of the rest of the population (along with the huge physical atrophy, i.e. all the obesity), along with all the other problems such as the continuing destruction of topsoil worldwide, the looming fresh water shortages, and the continuing struggle to adjust to climate change, anthropomorphic or not, you'll never run out of things to talk about. :-)

I wonder though, if hydrates only partially pan out, and as the rest of the developing world increases its thirst for a share at the cheap energy table, how things will hold out?

I also suspect that developing hydrates for energy use will greatly increase the methane contribution in the atmosphere, along with CO2, and I for one, haven't discounted fairly serious Warming yet. (It remains to be seen if injecting CO2 into the ground to get methane hydrates out will be net CO2 positive or negative for the atmosphere.)

But I suppose as long as this government and society hold out another 30 years or so, I'll escape the worst of it. That seems a kind of loathsome attitude, however.

Stephen B. said...

I should also add that methane hydrates are hardly a new discovery. I recall reading about the huge deposits of the things at least a decade ago and even then there were people saying our energy problems would soon be over because of the hydrates, so it's possible that this article that's been running the news cycle for the last week or so, thanks to Obama, is just the old, warmed over a bit.

But let's go back to the question of using CO2 to aid methane production. I see a lot of logistical problems with getting the CO2 to the hydrates drill/production area. Okay, we collect CO2 at a power plant, liquify it for transport (or build a huge network of gaseous CO2 pipelines, or both) send it off the coast and/or up to the Alaskan coast (the Alaskan Arctic coast?!?) then use it? That's a pretty substantial investment in CO2 handling. Then too, what about collecting CO2 from the billion+ cars and trucks that will be burning methane? How is that done, or do we just lose the CO2 emitted by non-point sources?

I suppose we could build CO2 distillation plants more local to the hydrates production areas, but even though CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have risen, it still takes quite a bit of energy to distill gases out of the atmosphere (and if we DO this, what do we do with all the liquid nitrogen and other gases we also get? Do we ship them all the way back to the Mainland 48?)

No, there are still many questions to be answered about developing these hydrates for energy.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

According to the Wikipedia post, the volumes of Hydrates was vastly over stated and estimates have been declining "an order of magnitude" each decade.

Anonymous said...

There is an unwritten rule that federal programs run 10 billion dollars; or at least there was before Paulson let 700B burn a hole in his pocket. it doesn't matter weather they are buying 166 million bayonets at $60 each or 400 tanks at 20 million each the total cost will be around $10 billion. $6 million isn't a federal program it's a joke.

Best,
Dan

tweell said...

Somewhat OT, but...

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/16/ethanol-concerns-bring-customers-to-more-costly-pure-gas-stations/

Yes, ethanol burns cleaner, but it messes up older car engines and has less energy per volume unit.

alternative energy companies said...

But I think it will take years for the drastic change in this field.. That seems a kind of loathsome attitude, however.