Clathrate hydrates are water crystals resembling ice that actually trap methane inside them. While burning methane, or natural gas, releases less carbon dioxide than does other fossil fuels, it still does contribute to climate change. However, research presented at the recent meeting of the American Chemical Society claims that carbon dioxide could be pumped into the clathrates, replacing the methane, enabling a simultaneous trapping of CO2 and extraction of methane. It is being thought of as a “bridging fuel”, leading to more renewable energy sources. The biggest obstacle is the location of these hydrates, which are buried deep in wells or under the ocean floor or permafrost. Interest is growing, however, and there is significant potential for this as a greener energy option.
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