Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) researchers are developing new techniques for extracting methane from natural gas hydrates.
Gas hydrates are ice-like cages, found in Indian continental coastline, in which methane gas is trapped.
According to official data, over 1,900 trillion cubic meters of methane gas lie untapped in these cages. This is 1,500 times more than country’s present gas reserve.
Methane, in the form of natural gas, is used by many industries to generate electricity and make energy.
IITM researchers are studying new methane extraction methods so that country’s natutal gas import will come down.
The research is being headed by Jitendra Sangwai, Professor (Petroleum Engineering) from IITM’s Ocean Engineering department.
Gas hydrates should be dissociated into their constituent gas and water before metane recovery is possible, said Sangwai.
Press release from IITM said that four techniques are being studied in various laboratories for this dissociation, namely – thermal stimulation, depressurisation, chemical injection and carbon dioxide injection.
Sangwai’s team analyses the combined effects thermal stimulation and depressurisation in one branch of study, and polymer injection in another, the release added.
“Controlled extraction of methane from gas hydrates can not only meet the enormous demand for energy all over the world but can also reduce detrimental geological release of greenhouse gas into the environment from these sources,” Sangwai added.