China in recent years has made exceptional progress across several industries and markets. The mining and new energy industry is no exception. Last week, China began mining combustible ice in Shenhu area of the South China sea. Combustible ice is a natural gas hydrate that has the potential to be the source of a global energy revolution. One month after the mining trials began trying to extract the natural gas hydrate, their attempts proved successful. This major breakthrough occurred after nearly two decades of research and exploration into combustible ice, its properties, and mining processes.
What is Combustible Ice?
Combustible ice is a natural gas hydrate, but what does that mean? It means it is a condensed form of natural gass. One cubic meter of the combustible ice is equal to roughly 164 cubic meters of regual natural gas. “Combustible ice” got its name due to its highly flamable properties, and it can be ignited like a solid ethanol. Combustible ice is typically found in seabed or tundra areas. The high pressure and low temperature in these areas provide the necessary for its sustainability. Combustible ice is an efficient, abundant, and clean energy source that can be extremely important in regards to future energy sustainability.
China’s History with Combustible Ice
Combustible ice and its properties was firs discovered in the 1960’s. China began research into mining and extracting this valuable energy source nearly twenty years after its discovery in 1998. They first discovered the abundance of flamable ice in the China Sea in 2007. Trial mining of the renewable resource begam on March 28, 2017. The process began by trapping some of the natural gas hydrate at a depth of 1,266 meters under the sea on May 10. Since then they have extracted roughly 16,000 cubic meters of gas from the sea each day. This success stems from “nearly two decades of continuous efforts and independent innovations by China in theory, technology, engineering, and equipment for natural gas hydrate exploration and exploitation”. The successful mining of the valuable substance is seen as a historic breakthrough around the world.