ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Researchers are looking into frozen gas that looks like ice but burns like a candle as a possible future source of energy.
U.S. Department of Energy researchers and industry partners are analyzing data from trials on Alaska's North Slope that tested a method of extracting methane from methane hydrate. That's a lattice of ice that traps gas molecules but does not bind them chemically.
An increase in temperature or a drop in pressure releases the methane, which is the main ingredient in natural gas.
The Alaska research tested a technique developed by Houston-based ConocoPhillips and the University of Bergen in Norway — injecting carbon dioxide into hydrate.
In the lab, CO2 molecules swapped places with methane molecules, freeing methane to be harvested but preserving the ice.