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PostPosted: Mar 15, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Feb 28, 2011 10:10 am
Posts: 355
Japan, which has few natural resources, is investigating the exploration of methane hydrates. There is a breakthrough, according to the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/busin ... .html?_r=0

It is still in its infancy and will have to overcome challenges and risks, but this is an interesting development.


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PostPosted: Mar 16, 2013 5:44 am 
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Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
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If methane hydrates can be extracted at large scale (and importantly at large rates of extraction) then this will be an important advantage in terms of air quality, energy abundance etc.

Too bad about the greenhouse gas problem. Combustion of natural gas produces CO2, much less than coal, but much more than comfortable. Furthermore, methane is itself a powerful greenhouse gas, and even worse has most of the forcing in the first couple years, so a large methane emission from large scale mining of hydrates - large scale mining after all being not exactly surgically accurate - is a big potential climate tipping point threat. We'll have to be very careful about methane leakage.


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PostPosted: Mar 17, 2013 5:12 am 
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Joined: Apr 19, 2008 1:06 am
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The Japanese are hard pressed for energy after closure of most of nuclear power plants. They may just go on to productionise the mining of methane from these deposits. They do not even have much of shale gas to develop. They are also likely to re-open slowly some of the nuclear power plants.


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