Applied Energy, Vol.216, 262-285, 2018
A review of solidified natural gas (SNG) technology for gas storage via clathrate hydrates
Natural gas (NG), the cleanest burning fossil fuel, plays a crucial role in meeting the global energy demand, contributing to 24% and is projected to grow at a rate of about 2% until 2040. Natural gas is also considered as the bridging fuel to transition into a carbon-constrained world with reduced carbon dioxide emissions whilst catering to the huge energy demand. Efficient and effective modes of NG storage/transport are dire need in the current golden era of natural gas. A plethora of advantages offered by storing NG in the form of hydrates carve a niche for this novel technology. Termed as solidified natural gas (SNG) technology, it has remarkable potential to store multi-fold volumes of natural gas in compact hydrate crystals offering the safest and the most environmental friendly mode of NG storage. This review provides an account on the research efforts put forth in this technology. Hydrate formation and storage aspects have been examined thoroughly with a subtle account on the gas recovery. The review encompasses studies conducted using different promoters (thermodynamic, kinetic or a combination of both) in different reactor configurations, novel/innovative approaches and hybrid processes adopted to improve the kinetics of hydrate formation and to increase the gas storage capacity. Detailed sections on the 'self-preservation' and 'tuning' effect in hydrates have been included due to their significance in SNG technology. Process chain of the SNG technology, underlying challenges and measures adopted to deploy the SNG technology for large-scale NG storage applications are included in this review.