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Posted Tue Apr 7 2009: from Greenwire:
Scientists try tapping 'ice that burns'
Researchers may have found a way to extract large amounts of natural gas from methane hydrates -- ice-like structures that might contain more energy than all the world's coal, oil and conventional natural gas combined. Massive amounts of frozen natural gas are buried far below the ocean floor and Arctic permafrost, but the compounds are highly unstable when they experience changes in temperature or pressure. Until now, scientists have struggled to find how to economically extract usable fuel from them. But Columbia University researchers believe they may have discovered ideal conditions for separating gas from the ice, and they have developed an apparatus to help them do that. Methane hydrates, also known as "ice that burns," form when natural gas from microbial activity or organic decomposition gets trapped within water molecules at low temperature and high pressure.
[Read more stories about: technical cleverness, carbon sequestration, efficiency increase]
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Your Quips:
Haley says: "This silence is deafening."
Jojo says: "Oh great -- let's burn even more already-sequestered greenhouse gases."
UvayBlop says: "According to the story, the process is carbon neutral or even carbon negative."
DocJim says: "Unless the scientists fart while they're drilling."

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'Doc Michael says:
Couple the 'ice that burns' with 'fire that chills' and now we're really talking!

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