October 30th, 2006
The problem of using gas hydrates is that they are situated in highly inaccessible areas. What is more troubling is the fact that when gas hydrates, such as methane hydrates are accessed, the occurrence of the compound disassociating into its parts which are methane and water could lead to methane gas escaping to the atmosphere in huge amounts. And here is as they say where the plot thickens. To use gas hydrates, you must free the energy-laden components from the inert ones, which means you have to separate the methane from the water.
There is currently no one single technique for accessing the potential of gas hydrates albeit many potential approaches. One method is the substitution of methane with carbon dioxide, a more stable thermodynamic gas. Sounds simple but realistically speaking, it is not.
In addition, gas hydrates normally form in sediment structures on the ocean floor. Removing gas hydrates will mean a change in the ocean bed structure and at worst, a possible collapse and destruction of valuable undersea ecosystems.