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Concerns over combustible ice extraction
May 25, 2017

Why in news:

Commercial development of the globe’s huge reserves of a frozen fossil fuel known as “combustible ice” has moved closer to reality after Japan and China successfully extracted the material from the sea floor off their coastlines. the fuel was successfully mined by a drilling rig operating in the South China Sea on

Importance of this for China & Japan:

For Japan, methane hydrate offers the chance to reduce its heavy reliance of imported fuels if it can tap into reserves off its coastline. In China, it could serve as a cleaner substitute for coal-burning power plants and steel factories that have polluted much of the country with lung-damaging smog.

What is it:

Combustible ice is a frozen mixture of water and concentrated natural gas. Technically known as methane hydrate, it can be lit on fire in its frozen state and is believed to comprise one of the world’s most abundant fossil fuels.

 Fuel-Source

Source:http://www.ocregister.com/wp-content/uploads/migration/mh3/mh3ry8-mh3rx8methanehydrate.gif?w=620

Concern:

  • Large-scale production remains many years away and if not done properly could flood the atmosphere with climate-changing greenhouse gases. 
  • If methane hydrate leaks during the extraction process, it can increase greenhouse gas emissions. The fuel also could displace renewables such as solar and wind power.


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