Transcript for The Future of Energy Gases, segment 08 of 13
This is not ordinary ice. It is gas hydrate, a type of ice that burns. It is also the most abundant form of methane on Earth. In gas hydrates methane molecules are caged in a lattice of frozen water. A large amount of gas can be stored in a very small volume of ice. Melting a cubic meter of hydrate releases up to one hundred seventy cubic meters of methane gas.
Natural gas hydrates are found throughout the world. They occur abundantly in ocean floor sediments and in the permafrost of polar regions. These vast deposits contain huge amounts of methane, but gas hydrates are not included in estimates of resources because we don't yet know if we will ever be able to use them. Work is now underway to understand this unique material and add it to our future energy supplies. If developed, natural gas from hydrates would last us for centuries.