Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.27, No.9, 2026-2036, 2019
Methane hydrates: A future clean energy resource
Natural gas has been considered as the best transition fuel into the future carbon constraint world. The ever-increasing demand for natural gas has prompted expanding research and development activities worldwide for exploring methane hydrates as a future energy resource. With its vast global resource volume (similar to 3000 trillion cubic meter CH4) and high energy storage capacity (170 CH4 v/v methane hydrate), recovering energy from naturally-occurring methane hydrate has attracted both academic and industry interests to demonstrate the technical feasibility and economic viability. In this review paper, we highlight the recent advances in fundamental researches, seminal discoveries and implications from ongoing drilling programs and field production tests, the impending knowledge gaps and the future perspectives of recovering energy from methane hydrates. We further emphasize the current scientific, technological and economic challenges in realizing long-term commercial gas production from methane hydrate reservoir. The continuous growth of the corresponding experimental studies in China should target these specific challenges to narrow the knowledge gaps between laboratory-scale investigations and reservoir-scale applications. Furthermore, we briefly discuss both the environmental and geomechanical issues related to exploiting methane hydrate as the future energy resource and believe that they should be of paramount importance in the future development of novel gas production technologies. (C) 2019 The Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China, and Chemical Industry Press Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.