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China to boost flammable ice research

(Xinhua)

15:06, September 05, 2011

Edited and Translated by Liu Xiaoning, People's Daily Online

Chinese scientists have conducted simulation research on the exploration of flammable ice in the South China Sea for the first time to speed up commercialization of the alternative energy source and have achieved a series of breakthrough, according to the Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Commonly known as flammable ice, gas hydrate is a new form of clean energy found in recent decades in permafrost or under the sea, which is seen as an ideal alternative to conventional energy sources, such as petroleum and carbon.

China officially started investigation and research projects of flammable ice resources in the country's waters when the state approved exploration in 2002. In 2007, headlines were made as the country collected its first flammable ice samples, with a high saturation level of 48 percent, in the South China Sea.

With its huge energy potential, countries all over the world are accelerating research of mining technology to exploit gas hydrates and realize commercial production. To this end, Chinese institutions are working with U.S.-based Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to design a new type of extraction well and build mining models to develop gas hydrate in the South China Sea.

It is learned that exploration and development of flammable ice is a systematic project involving many disciplines, such as marine geology, geophysics, geochemistry, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, drilling engineering, geology experimental techniques and marine environment. Given the domestic and international technology development trends and China's flammable ice development plan, China is expected to excavate flammable ice underwater by 2020 and realize commercial production by 2030.

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