China Sees Flammable Ice as the Next Renewable Energy Source

The search for sustainable renewable energy sources continues unabated. China is looking in a very unusual direction to achieve this goal, though. Scientists have been experimenting with samples of combustible ice, which could become a major breakthrough for renewable energy. It appears the team has successfully collected samples, although it remains to be seen how flammable ice will be used in the future.

China Successfully Mines Flammable Ice

It is evident we need to learn to harness the planet’s natural resources in such a way we can sustain our society’s needs. Instead of digging up resources such as coal and oil, we need to try and harvest renewable energy sources instead. Although no one would consider flammable ice to be a viable candidate, Chinese scientists are convinced this energy source could shake things up quite a bit.

Now that a team of scientists have successfully collected samples of combustible ice, things will get very exciting. This renewable energy source can be found in the South China Sea. Obtaining such samples has been one of the top priorities for China for some time now, yet previous efforts have not been successful. It took nearly two decades of exploration and research to successfully “mine” flammable ice.

One of the main reasons why this energy source is of such great interest is how can be ignited like ethanol. Finding this source of energy is a different matter, though, as it is mainly found in seabed or areas where tundras can be found. Flammable ice requires just the right amount of pressure and low temperatures before it forms. One cubic meter of this natural element would equal to 164 cubic meters of natural gas.

Ever since 2007, Chinese officials have been rather excited about the prospect of mining combustible ice. That was the year in which flammable ice was discovered in the South China Sea, although very little information is known regarding its quantity in the area. A representative of the China Geological Survey bureau mentioned how there are “large reserves” of this energy source, though.

To put this venture into perspective, the samples of combustible ice have been collected from a depth of 1,266 meters. The trial mining began on March 28th, and it took until this Wednesday before experts tapped the natural gas hydrate successfully. Over the course of every day, the team can successfully extract around 16,000 cubic meters of gas with a rather high purity.

Although this is a major breakthrough, it remains to be seen what effect the mining of combustible ice will have on the renewable energy sector. Chinese scientists are very excited about this successful mining operation, although there is still a lot of research and development to be done. It is good to see the entire world focus on alternative renewable energy sources, though.

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