CO2 capture through the use of methane hydrates

CO2 capture through the use of methane hydrates

June 29, 2012 0 By Bret Williams

Capturing emissions continues to draw the interest of Department of Energy

Capturing and storing carbon dioxide has become a popular concept in the world of science. Researchers from around the world have been working to find a way to effectively and efficiently remove the threat of CO2 emissions. A team of researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) first published the findings of their carbon capture and storage study in December 2011. The Department of Energy is now digging up the results of this research for further analysis.

Study shows that CO2 capture could be accomplished through the use of gas hydrates

According to the study, scientists were able to quantify the interactions that occur between gases and water on a molecular level. The computer model that was created for the research shows that releasing methane from its chemical bonds could be an effective means of CO2 capture. PNNL chemist Sotiris Xantheas suggests that conventional science claims that removing methane from its chemical bonds is an energy-intensive process that destroys the molecular structure of these bonds, making them unable to store carbon dioxide. PNNL researchers have found through the use of the computer model that this is not the case.

Model details process to extract methane molecules from chemical structures

The research suggests that gas hydrates are able to hold various forms of fuel, from natural gas to hydrogen, and are readily available in the planet’s oceans. The computer model has shown that in methane hydrates, methane molecules can be removed from their bonds without the need of large amounts of energy. The removal of these molecules will also have no negative impact on the overall chemical structure of the hydrate. Researchers believe that methane can be efficiently replaced with CO2 through this process, enabling the efficient storage of the gas.

CO2 capture may be an effective way to mitigate environmental impact

The Department of Energy has shown more interest in the concept of CO2 capture. This interest is partly rooted in the country’s overarching energy plan, which has the nation pursuing all forms of power, especially fossil-fuels. With focus remaining on oil and coal, the agency believes that mitigating the release of emissions though CO2 capture is a viable way to reduce the country’s impact on the environment.


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