Researchers are looking into frozen gas that looks like ice but burns like a candle as a possible future source of energy.
U.S. Department of Energy researchers and industry partners are analyzing data from trials on Alaska’s North Slope that tested a method of extracting methane from methane hydrate. That’s a lattice of ice that traps gas molecules but does not bind them chemically.
An increase in temperature or a drop in pressure releases the methane, which is the main ingredient in natural gas.
The Alaska research tested a technique developed by ConocoPhillips and the University of Bergen in Norway—injecting carbon dioxide into hydrate.
In the laboratory, carbon dioxide molecules swapped places with methane molecules, freeing methane to be harvested but preserving the ice.