US Claims ‘Unprecedented’ Success in Test for New Fuel Source
Could the future of cleaner fossil fuel really be frozen crystals now trapped in ocean sediments and under permafrost?
Backed by an oil industry giant, the Obama administration recently tested a drilling technique in Alaska’s Arctic that it says might eventually unlock “a vast, entirely untapped resource that holds enormous potential for U.S. economic and energy security.” Some experts believe the reserves could provide domestic fuel for hundreds of years to come.
Those crystals, known as methane hydrates, contain natural gas but so far releasing that fuel has been an expensive proposition.
The drilling has its environmental critics, but there’s also a climate bonus: The technique requires injecting carbon dioxide into the ground, thereby creating a new way to remove the warming gas from the atmosphere.
“You’re storing the CO2, and also liberating the natural gas,” Christopher Smith, the Energy Department’s oil and natural gas deputy assistant secretary, told msnbc.com. “It’s kind of a two-for-one.”