Washington, D.C. — A U.S. Department of Energy witness today told Congress the agency is leading a nationwide program in search of naturally occurring natural gas hydrates – a potentially significant storehouse of methane—with far reaching implications for the environment and the nation’s future energy supplies.
Dr. Ray Boswell, Senior Management and Technology Advisor at the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources that the R&D program in gas hydrates is working to integrate and leverage efforts throughout the United States and internationally to enable gas hydrates to become a viable option for meeting future energy demands.
Boswell told the subcommittee "the program is driven by the recognition that gas hydrates represent a significant global storehouse of methane – a fact with far-reaching implications for the environment and for the Nation’s and the world’s future energy supplies."
Methane hydrate research has been conducted since 2000 through Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, in conjunction with other government agencies, private institutions and universities, and supported by the unique capabilities of DOE’s National Laboratories.
Methane (or gas) hydrates—molecules of natural gas trapped in ice crystals—represent a potentially vast resource that may have as much energy as all the world's other fossil fuels combined. The cost-effective development of hydrate reserves can play a major role both in moderating natural gas price increases and ensuring adequate future supplies for American consumers.
DOE also is conducting and supporting a comprehensive suite of field and modeling studies of gas hydrates' link to climate and carbon cycling, helping explain the role gas hydrates may play during periods of climate change.