Tag Archives | Methane

Can Fire Ice Save The World?

A burning methane hydrate chunk - inlay is a lattice of the clathrate. USGS.

A burning methane hydrate chunk – inlay is a lattice of the clathrate. USGS.

Methane hydrate, colloquially known as Fire Ice, is being discussed as the energy of the future that will render peak oil and all the other expiring fossil fuel sources irrelevant. BBC News investigates the pros and cons of what is, after all, another hydrocarbon:

The world is addicted to hydrocarbons, and it’s easy to see why – cheap, plentiful and easy to mine, they represent an abundant energy source to fuel industrial development the world over.

The side-effects, however, are potentially devastating; burning fossil fuels emits the CO2 linked to global warming.

And as reserves of oil, coal and gas are becoming tougher to access, governments are looking ever harder for alternatives, not just to produce energy, but to help achieve the holy grail of all sovereign states – energy independence.

Some have discovered a potential saviour, locked away under deep ocean beds and vast swathes of permafrost.

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Is It Too Late? The Retreat of Arctic Sea Ice Is Releasing Huge Fountains of Methane

Arctic Ice MeltKeep in mind that methane affects the atmosphere in multiple ways, and that another major Ice Age might be what’s really in the works. Steve Connor reports in the Independent:

Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane — a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide — have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

In an exclusive interview with the Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

“Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter.

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Australia’s ‘Kill A Camel’ To Cut Pollution Concept

800px-Camel_in_the_Thar_Desert

Photo: Dan Searle (CC)

How can we curb the emission of greenhouse gases? Get rid of a bunch of camels, apparently. Via Physorg:

Australia is considering awarding carbon credits for killing feral camels as a way to tackle climate change.

The suggestion is included in Canberra’s “Carbon Farming Initiative”, a consultation paper by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, seen Thursday.

Adelaide-based Northwest Carbon, a commercial company, proposed culling some 1.2 million wild camels that roam the Outback, the legacy of herds introduced to help early settlers in the 19th century.

Considered a pest due to the damage they do to vegetation, a camel produces, on average, a methane equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide a year, making them collectively one of Australia’s major emitters of greenhouse gases.

In its plan, Northwest said it would shoot them from helicopters or muster them and send them to an abattoir for either human or pet consumption.

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Thawing Siberian Permafrost Leaking More Methane Than Ever

Siberia-FederalSubjects

Siberia

We can endlessly dispute whether the changes are man-made or natural, but change isn’t a question, it’s a reality. From Arthur Max via AP:

CHERSKY, Russia – The Russian scientist shuffles across the frozen lake, scuffing aside ankle-deep snow until he finds a cluster of bubbles trapped under the ice. With a cigarette lighter in one hand and a knife in the other, he lances the ice like a blister. Methane whooshes out and bursts into a thin blue flame.

Gas locked inside Siberia’s frozen soil and under its lakes has been seeping out since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. But in the past few decades, as the Earth has warmed, the icy ground has begun thawing more rapidly, accelerating the release of methane — a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide — at a perilous rate.

Some scientists believe the thawing of permafrost could become the epicenter of climate change.

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Alternative Energy: Turn Your Poo Into Fuel!

Photo: Wessex Water

Photo: Wessex Water

Want an alternative use for the contents of your septic tank?

Mohammed Saddiq has the answer, the poop-mobile! Bristol streets have been the first test run of the methane-powered car which allows an alternative to petroleum fuel. BBC covers the story:

The BBC’s John Maguire is given a tour of the methane-powered car by developer Mohammed Saddiq

A “poo-powered” VW Beetle has taken to the streets of Bristol in an attempt to encourage sustainable motoring.

The Bio-Bug runs on processed methane gas generated as part of the raw sewage treatment process.

Engineers from Wessex Water estimate the waste from 70 homes would generate enough gas to run the car for 10,000 miles (16,100km).

Despite being powered by fuel created from sewage, the car does not smell unpleasant.

“It performs like a normal car – you wouldn’t know it was powered by biogas,” a company spokesman said.

To use biogas as vehicle fuel without affecting vehicle performance or reliability the gas needs to be treated to remove the carbon dioxide content.

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