Russia’s Mir mini-submarines have discovered new gas hydrate fields on the bed of Lake Baikal this season. The gas hydrate layers were discovered for the first time during the second stage of the Lake Baikal expedition in 2009. Studying gas hydrates is a promising and urgent trend in contemporary science since they can be used as an additional source of energy.
Gas Hydrates are ice-like crystalline solids formed from mixtures of water and natural gas, usually methane. Concerning their importance, Alexander Ermolev, the head of the department for the development and exploration of gas and gas condensate deposits at the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, has this to say.
“In 1070, researchers of the department discovered and experimentally proved the existence of underground gas hydrates. The research now underway has significance for industry and is linked with the production of gas from gas hydrate deposits,” Alexander Ermolev says.
It is quite a difficult task to produce gas from gas hydrates because these crystals disintegrate when they are lifted to the surface and gas explodes as the temperature and pressure changes. Last year, Mir submersibles failed to lift the gas hydrates successfully from the bed of Lake Baikal. This year, experts use new equipment specially developed for this purpose. They hope they will be lucky this time. The Russian developments are basically linked to the extraction of gas hydrates from underground deposits, which were discovered by Soviet scientists in the 40s in permafrost in the Russian Far North, says Alexander Ermolev.
“There are several patents but they are linked with the lowering tabular pressure and increasing temperature,” says Alexander Ermolev.
“However, there is need to realize these two processes under tabular conditions,” Alexander Ermolev said.
Gas hydrates are logically described as a fuel of the future because one cubic meter of gas hydrate produces up to 200 cubic meters of methane. Experts have estimated that 25 trillion cubic meters of gas lies on the Black Sea bed in crystalline from.
This means that the Black Sea is capable of producing more gas than the Arctic and most importantly, this gas is cheaper.
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