Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Predicting Gas Hydrates Location And Quantities Just Got Easier

Date:
April 27, 2007
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Given that there's more carbon trapped inside ice-like crystals under the seafloor than in all the world's oil, gas and coal reserves combined, it seems like it would be easy to find. A new model makes the search for gas hydrates much easier.

Given that there's more carbon trapped inside ice-like crystals under the seafloor than in all the world's oil, gas and coal reserves combined, it seems like it would be easy to find. Up to now that hasn't been the case, but thanks to the award-winning research of Rice University graduate student Gaurav Bhatnagar, the search for gas hydrates just got easier.

Bhatnagar, a chemical engineering doctoral student in the lab of George Hirasaki, has expressed the results of complex computer models in terms of dimensionless groups or variables that make it much easier to predict where gas hydrates will form and in what quantity.

"Gaurav's accomplishments have earned him a substantial reputation as a quality researcher," said Hirasaki, the A.J. Hartsook Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. "Whereas previous models required about a dozen parameters and typically characterized hydrates only for a particular set of conditions, Gaurav's models are made general by combining multiple variables into dimensionless groups or variables. For example, he was able to create a system that combined hundreds of simulations into just two composite plots with dimensionless variables."

The quality of Bhatnagar's work hasn't gone unnoticed. In 2006, he won the Society of Petroleum Engineers' (SPE) Gulf Coast Regional Student Paper Contest, the SPE's International Student Paper Contest and an Outstanding Student Paper Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The latter award will be presented at the AGU's May meeting in Acapulco, Mexico, where Bhatnagar is slated to present his latest findings.

In his new research, Bhatnagar's developed a way to use a single variable – depth of the sulfate-methane interface– as a shorthand measure to effectively predict where hydrates will occur and the quantity of the hydrate accumulation.

"Sulfate-methane interface depth is a standard measure that can be easily calculated from shallow sediment cores," said Bhatnagar. "We have shown that this sulfate-methane interface can be directly used as a proxy for quantifying the amount of gas hydrate in the sediments. Sulfate in marine sediments can be measured more accurately than other geochemical data and may be a better indicator of the presence of gas hydrates. Moreover, sulfate data can be obtained from shallow cores, which also avoids the complications arising from drilling through hydrate layers. "

Methane hydrates form under the ocean floor, where temperatures plunge and the weight of the ocean exerts thousands of pounds per square inch, trapping methane gas inside ice-like crystals tens to hundreds of meters below the seafloor. Dubbed the "ice that burns," hydrates release gaseous methane when they melt. It's estimated that there are as much as 20 trillion tons of methane locked away in gas hydrates on the outer edges of the Earth's continents, and the Department of Energy has estimated that the commercial development of just 1 percent of the U.S.’s hydrate resources would more than double the nation’s proved gas reserves.

Bhatnagar's research is supported by Rice's Shell Center for Sustainability and by a Kobayashi Graduate Fellowship. He plans to graduate in December and has already accepted an offer to work in the gas hydrate group at Houston-based Shell Oil.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Predicting Gas Hydrates Location And Quantities Just Got Easier." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423114156.htm>.
Rice University. (2007, April 27). Predicting Gas Hydrates Location And Quantities Just Got Easier. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423114156.htm
Rice University. "Predicting Gas Hydrates Location And Quantities Just Got Easier." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423114156.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) An analysis of new satellite data casts serious doubt on a previous study about the Big Bang that was once hailed as revolutionary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins