Online Courses (English)
This just in:

State PCS

Daily Updates

Science & Technology

IIT Madras Team Produces Gas Hydrates

  • 08 Jan 2019
  • 4 min read

A team of Indian researchers at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras has synthesized in a lab tiny water cages containing trace amounts of methane and carbon dioxide at extremely low temperatures and pressure to simulate the conditions of deep space.

  • These tiny cages are known as Clathrate Hydrates or Gas Hydrates.
  • Normally, the formation of clathrate hydrates requires high pressures and moderate temperature.
  • This discovery of hydrates is unexpected at extremely low pressures and ultracold temperatures as cages of water are not expected to form under such conditions.
  • At low temperature, both ice and methane are in a frozen state, prolonging the experiment at a very low temperature enhanced the mobility of methane molecules and led to their insertion into the cage of water molecules to form methane hydrate.

Clathrate Hydrates

  • Clathrate hydrates are solid cages of water containing small non-polar molecules like carbon dioxide and methane.
  • Clathrate hydrates are formed when a gas such as methane gets trapped in well-defined cages of water molecules forming crystalline solids. In terrestrial conditions, gas hydrates are formed naturally under the seabed and glaciers under high pressure, low-temperature conditions.
  • On earth, they are found on the ocean floor or the permafrost region of the earth.

Uses of Clathrate Hydrates

  • Hydrates are considered as the future sources of fuel. Many countries, including India, have started projects to explore hydrates present on the ocean bed.
  • They could be a potentially safe, efficient method for storing and transporting gases.


  • Carbon Sequestration
    • Trapping carbon dioxide in hydrates can be a way to reduce to global warming in future. As one can sequester carbon dioxide gas as solid hydrates under the seabed.
      Sustainable Energy source
  • Development of technology to harvest Gas Hydrates can ensure energy security of the nation.

Gas hydrate exploration in India

  • Under the aegis of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, a comprehensive research-oriented gas hydrates program was launched during the 11th plan (2007-12) period emphasizing scientific and technology development with following major objectives:
    • Understanding the nature of distribution of gas hydrates in marine sediments
    • Developing techniques for detection and quantification of gas hydrates
    • Identifying promising sites on the regional scale and estimating the resource potential
    • Recommending suitable sites for drilling and ground truth validation
    • Demonstrating occurrences of gas hydrates 
    • Understanding the mechanism for the formation and accumulation of gas hydrates
    • Studying the impact of hydrate dissociation on climate and geological environment
    • Developing environment-safe technology for commercial production on a pilot scale
    • Developing hazardless and cost-effective transportation of gas from gas hydrates and
    • Monitoring environmental perturbation during harvesting of gas hydrates
  • National Centre For Polar And Ocean Research (NCAOR), Ministry of Earth Sciences has been identified as the nodal agency responsible for implementation of the scientific aspects of the study.
  • National Gas Hydrate Programmes (NGHP)
    • The programme was initiated in 1997 with a Steering Committee and a Technical Committee.
    • National Gas Hydrate Programme (NGHP) is steered by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and technically coordinated by Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).
SMS Alerts

Please login or register to view note list


Please login or register to list article as bookmarked


Please login or register to make your note


Please login or register to list article as progressed


Please login or register to list article as bookmarked