The US and Japan have successfully completed their trial of methane hydrate production technologies
The US and Japan have successfully completed their trial of methane hydrate production technologies, opening up a new source of natural gas. As reported last year (Chemistry World, December 2011, p16), two technologies were being trialled in the Prudhoe Bay region of Alaska to try and extract methane trapped in ice. In the first project, a mixture of CO2 and N2 was injected into a borehole where the CO2 was exchanged for methane. This was the first ever field trial for methane extraction using CO2 exchange. The team also tested a depressurisation technique, which lasted for 30 days, a large increase from the previous longest field test of six days. Depressurisation of the borehole releases methane by causing the ice lattice that contains the gas to melt, and the Department of Energy is now hoping to pursue longer duration tests of this technology.