Energy from Gas Hydrates
Gas hydrates form when water and natural gas combine at low temperatures and high pressures – they are essentially natural gas in a “frozen” state. Some estimates suggest that the total amount of natural gas bound in hydrate form may exceed all conventional gas resources – coal, oil and natural gas, combined. Challenges for the extraction of gas from gas hydrates do exist however; there are economic considerations, potential environmental policy impacts, and unknown effects on communities. In late 2006, Natural Resources Canada asked the Council of Canadian Academies to address the challenges of safely extracting gas from gas hydrates.
The Expert Panel on Gas Hydrates found that Canada is well-positioned to be a global leader in exploration, research and development, and the exploitation of gas hydrates. They also concluded that while there are no insurmountable technical problems with extracting gas from gas hydrates, it would be more costly than the production of conventional gas. In addition, the panel determined that regardless of which type of gas was used — conventional or gas from gas hydrates — efforts must be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
What are the challenges for an acceptable operational extraction of gas hydrates in Canada?
Report and related publications
- Energy from Gas Hydrates: Assessing the Opportunities and Challenges for Canada (the full report)
- Report in Focus (the abridged version)
- News Release
Expert Panel membership
The Expert Panel on Gas Hydrates convened in early 2007 and was chaired by Dr. John Grace, FRSC, FCAE, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Canada Research Chair in Clean Energy Processes at the University of British Columbia. For a complete list of panel members visit the Expert Panel on Gas Hydrates Membership page.
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