Energy: Making Fire from Ice

January 09, 2015

We've all heard about tap water you can light on fire allegedly because of methane gas contamination from fracking, a high-tech process that forces the release of natural gas trapped in shale rock formations. Now, Japan has announced its intention to renew efforts to mine methane hydrate. Also known as "flaming ice," the naturally-occurring material consists of methane gas molecules trapped in crystalline ice. 
 
Environmentalists worry that full-scale mining will release large amounts of methane into the atmosphere, speeding global warming, but research shows that it may be possible to harvest the ice-trapped methane and replace it with carbon dioxide for a potential energy-planet win-win. 

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