New Research


Physicochemical Properties and Functions of Gas Hydrates

A Key Component for Solving Global Environmental and Energy Issues

Professor: Kazunari Ohgaki, Associate Professor: Hiroshi Sato, Assistant Professor: Takeshi Sugahara

 Gas hydrate (clathrate hydrate) is a solid crystal composed of the cage-structure of water molecules and the gas molecule (such as H2, CH4) inside the cage.
 One of the significant advantages of gas hydrate is “gas hydrate can store a large amount of gas inside it”. From the point of view, we have proposed the storage and transport techniques of H2 and CH4 using gas hydrates and we have revealed the physicochemical properties and characteristics of gas hydrates as fundamental studies for the techniques. Recently, the world’s first large-scale production plant (you can see it in the photo) of natural-gas hydrate pellets was constructed by a company collaborating with us. In the plant design, our results and findings are partially utilized as a basic concept. Now the collaborator is carrying out the verification tests of natural-gas transportation using natural-gas hydrate pellets.
 Large amount of CH4 hydrate (CH4 hydrate is often called as “burning ice”) have been discovered at the permafrost in the Arctic and in the sea bottom at various places all over the world. The CH4 hydrate deposits around Japan have attracted much attention as a potential energy resource domestically exploited in Japan. We have proposed and investigated the combined process of methane exploitation with CO2 isolation for simultaneously solving both our global warming and energy issues.
 For the technical development of gas hydrate applications, we have investigated the molecular structure of gas hydrates and the formation and dissociation mechanism by means of a laser instrument etc. Please refer to the website of our research group (Environmental Physical Chemistry Group) in the Division of Chemical Engineering for more information.

Link to the website of the Environmental Physical Chemistry Group
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