Is methane hydrate the answer to the energy crisis?


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The Independent Online

A half mile below ground near Anchorage, Alaska the U.S Department of Energy have tapped a reservoir of methane hydrate. It looks like ice, but burns like coal.

However there are serious environmental concerns about the substance which is 20 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, and therefore will contribute to global warming if burned. "Any exploration activities designed to extract methane hydrate run the risk of unintended consequences, of unleashing the monster," said Brendan Cummings of the Center for Biological Diversity.

According to the Huffington Post, Cummings believes research money should be poured into renewable resources, not more fossil fuels, despite the relative abundance of methane hydrate. Methane hydrate resources in the northern Gulf of Mexico are 100 times current US reserves of natural gas.