Researchers produce natural gas while storing CO2

New research done at the University of Texas at Austin that shows how to produce natural gas while storing carbon dioxide while helping fight climate change by trapping the Co2 underground.

The study used computer models to simulate what happens when mixtures of carbon dioxide and air are injected into deposits of methane hydrate, an ice-like, water-rich chemical compound that forms naturally in high-pressure, low-temperature environments.

“Our study shows that you can store carbon dioxide in hydrates and produce energy at the same time,” said Darnell.

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First, researchers produce natural gas to generate energy and sequester CO2,” said Flemings. “Second, by swapping the methane hydrate with CO2 hydrate, we disturb the (geologic) formation less, lowering the environmental impact, and we make the process energetically more efficient.”

First, nitrogen breaks down the methane hydrate. Second, the carbon dioxide crystalizes into a slow-moving wave of carbon dioxide hydrate behind the escaping methane gas.

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The computer simulations indicate that the process can be repeated with increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide until the reservoir becomes saturated.

The authors said that unlike some methods of carbon storage, this provides a ready incentive for industry to begin storing carbon dioxide, a major driver of climate change.

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