Griffith Hack Clean & Sustainable Technologies


Methane calthrate, anyone? by Justin Blows

There was an article on methane calthrate – ice containing methane – in a new scientist article a couple of months ago.

burning ice

Apparently there are vast reserves of this fossil fuel and it could be a significant component of the energy mix in the future.

There is concern that rising temperatures from global warming will release much of the methane locked up in the ice crystals – a so called tipping point for climate change. Given this, it is hard to know whether it is in the global interest to burn this fossil fuel – is it adding to global warming or is the methane just going to leak away and be an even more potent green house gas?

I guess it depends on the particular reserve being considered and whether it will be affected by global warming.

I wonder what technology is available to extract this resource? It is obviously a different challenge then oil / coal extraction. There may be a lot of innovation required and new machines and methods for extraction. This presents a great opportunity for innovators in this area – if an innovator invents the means to commercially extract this resource, and patent it, the innovator could gain a significant advantage in controlling the extraction of the resource and thus the commercial outcomes from extraction.

Justin Blows

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