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Fri May 19, 2017, 06:30 AM

China claims breakthrough in mining 'flammable ice'

Source: BBC

China has for the first time extracted gas from an ice-like substance under the South China Sea considered key to future global energy supply.

Chinese authorities have described the success as a major breakthrough.

Methane hydrates, also called "flammable ice", hold vast reserves of natural gas.

Many countries including the US and Japan are working on how to tap those reserves, but mining and extracting are extremely difficult.

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Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-39971667

15 replies, 4761 views

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Reply China claims breakthrough in mining 'flammable ice' (Original post)
jpak May 2017 OP
Bernardo de La Paz May 2017 #1
Nitram May 2017 #4
Igel May 2017 #10
Bernardo de La Paz May 2017 #12
padfun May 2017 #2
FailureToCommunicate May 2017 #3
cstanleytech May 2017 #5
SCVDem May 2017 #6
cstanleytech May 2017 #7
Igel May 2017 #13
SunSeeker May 2017 #8
Igel May 2017 #11
Bernardo de La Paz May 2017 #14
airplaneman May 2017 #9
csziggy May 2017 #15

Response to jpak (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 06:51 AM

1. Not the best idea for three reasons


1) It's carbon based.

2) It releases methane during extraction and methane is 34 times worse a greenhouse gas than CO2 over 100 year periods and 86 times worse over a 20 year period.

3) Resource extraction on a massive scale disrupts habitats.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #1)

Fri May 19, 2017, 07:30 AM

4. Like Bernardo said...

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #1)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:27 PM

10. And yet ...

There's the strange report that above shallow methane-seeps there was higher pH because of increased photosynthetic activity indicating carbon sequestering that more than made up for the amount of methane that was being released.

Probably not generalizable, as the report itself said, but intriguing. And, as the report entailed, perhaps at least partially generalizable.

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Response to Igel (Reply #10)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:32 PM

12. Interesting. But I thought of a fourth problem


4) Leakage and spills from methane processing and containers and shipments and storage are more damaging to global climate change than leakages of energy-equivalent amounts of other carbon fuels.

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 07:01 AM

2. There are trillions of tons of this.

And like jpak said, it is the worse as afar as greenhouse affects. So expect the world to get very hot!

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 07:06 AM

3. On the plus side, we'll all be able to buy cheap air conditioners...made in China...

...for the increased global warming and all.

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 08:35 AM

5. Unless the breakthrough is a way to mine it with "zero" chance of there being any major release

of the gas due to an accident they should not attempt this because they will be fools.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #5)

Fri May 19, 2017, 08:41 AM

6. Right!

Just like frakking!

What fools would do that?

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 08:44 AM

7. I dont the danger is the burning so much as the risk at mining it as

doesnt methane simply release carbon and water if burned? If so then if a car or power plant had some sort of carbon scrubber it would not be so bad.
The real danger is a screwup when they are mining it causing a massive release of the methane itself into the atmosphere.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #7)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:33 PM

13. CO2.

And CO2 is another greenhouse gas.

Continuing from my first comment, though, it needs to be said that CH4 doesn't survive nearly as long in the atmosphere as CO2. Once airborne, methane tends to be catalyzed or metabolized to CO2.

Otherwise cows and swamps would have long since rendered us Venus.

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 11:29 AM

8. Methane is the worst greenhouse gas. This is insane.

It's just going to massively accelerate global warming. FUCK.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #8)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:31 PM

11. Would you rather it released as methane or

released as CO2 after energy extraction?

Currently most warming scenarios indicate that methane release is likely. So instead of comparing "CO2 release versus no release," possibly a nice ideal but unrealistic approach, perhaps it might be worth looking at the risk of it being "CO2 release versus a carbon-equivalent release of CH4."

Dunno. But there's more than enough comparing two outcomes, which of which relies on an undesired change, with an outcome that assumes that there can be no change when it's a for-sure thing that things will certainly change. The same foolish game is played with desired changes versus no-change scenarios.

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Response to Igel (Reply #11)

Fri May 19, 2017, 05:37 PM

14. Don't assume perfect conversion to CO2. As I wrote upthread, CH4 is 32 to 86 times worse on its own.

Assuming perfect conversion with no leaks and no releases into the environment is a "nice ideal but unrealistic approach".

Released methane is much worse released oil or gasoline for global climate change. Note the "global". An oil spill has bad local effects but does not contribute much at all to climate change. Very little of that oil becomes a greenhouse gas.

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 02:17 PM

9. No need to mine it.

With global warming it will all come out on its own.
-Airplane

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 10:34 PM

15. Methane hydrates are considered a geohazard - slumps can cause slides

Or tsunamis.

https://hub.globalccsinstitute.com/publications/assessment-sub-sea-ecosystem-impacts/72-geohazards-%E2%80%93-methane-gas-hydrates

I've read that warming oceans could cause more release of methane hydrate deposits, increasing the possibilities of undersea slides and tsunamis, as well as increased release of methane and CO2 into the atmosphere. Right now I can't find sources to verify my memory.

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