The world’s energy crisis seems to have been put on hold. At the very least, it has started looking less grim. This is because Japan has finally moved one step closer to finding a new energy source that the world has not tapped into yet. Apparently this new source of energy was discovered after a Japanese research group was able to extract methane gas that has been frozen in undersea deposits. This is the first time in the history of the world that this has been done.
This latest experiment was conducted just off Japan’s central Pacific coast. This is huge for countries like Japan who are resource poor because of their location and are small island countries. The hope is that this new source of energy could help Japan get some form of energy independence.
That being said, this new discovery could help other nations as well, not just Japan. Any country that shares a border with an ocean could possibly use this new form of technology to add to their own energy arsenal.
Japan has been searching for a new source of energy ever since the Fukushima earthquake disaster crippled their power industry. Now the country is dealing with a lack of domestic energy sources. However, with the limited amount of space that Japan has, they needed to find a new way to produce energy. This is where their new discovery comes into play.
According to the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp, they were able to successfully extract gas from methane hydrate. For those who don’t know, methane hydrate is a super abundant mix of frozen water and methane. Some experts call this mix “fire ice.”
Japan is not the only country looking into this form of energy. In fact, the United States and Canada have both been conducting their own research on methane hydrate. According to experts around the world, methane hydrate is at least twice as plentiful as other energy reserves like natural gas.
At this point, no one knows for sure if commercial extraction is possible. The director of the oil and gas division for Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources, Ryo Minami, said that methane hydrate is very comparable to shale gas. By this he means that people have known about shale gas for more than 10 years. However, it’s been too costly to extract. Now, however, it is commercialized and has been transforming the United States energy market. Who is to say that the same cannot be true for methane hydrate?