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Testing nontoxic chemicals that stabilize methane ice, making it stable and resistant to elevated temperatures as the climate warms.


Description

Summary

Rising CO2 levels are causing the arctic permafrost to melt and causing increases of temperature in shallow parts of the arctic ocean. Methane ice stabilizing agents can make methane clathrates resistant to melting and releasing that potent greenhouse gas until higher temperatures than its normal melting point are reached There are also natural bacteria  that contribute to methane ice stability and a variety of combinations of the bacteria and the chemical agents will be tested. Experiments will be conducted in vitro and in situ in lakes in the permafrost. Theoretical studies of possible methods of spreading the stabilizers into Arctic lakes and the seabeds off the coast of Siberia and other places will be conducted also. The theoretical studies will also estimate the impact of widespread use of methane ice stabilizers on the weather. We will solicit help from NASA to monitor progress with methane measuring satellites. Effects on flora and fauna will be tested also.  Funds will pay the salary of the Director of the Clean Energy Research Foundation and employees involved in the experiments and theoretical studies. Funds will also be spent on experiments, equipment, transportation, and lodging. Results will be published in scientific journals. There will be many benefits including jobs, and a new industry to manufacture and deliver the ice stabilizers. The worst effects of out of control methane releases will be prevented, giving the world time to reduce fossil fuel use.


Category of the action

Geoengineering


What actions do you propose?

Nontoxic methane stabilizing chemicals and mixtures of stabilizers and natural bacteria will be spread over the permafrost and lakes of the arctic to prevent acceleration of greenhouse warming by methane release. Methods of delivering those stabilizing agents to seabed methane ice deposits will be designed and used to prevent release of seabed methane. Treaty negotiations. It is anticipated that an arctic-wide program will be funded by an international organization with contributions collected by national governments. Manufacturing the stabilizing agents will become an industry that employs tens of thousands of people and stimulates national and world economies. People will also be employed to deliver those agents with ships, airplanes, drones and specially designed equipment. Progress of the methane reduction program will be monitored continually. The Clean Energy Research Foundation Inc.will conduct experiments and publish experimental results and progress reports.


Who will take these actions?

Governments of the arctic nations in cooperation with an international authority. Private manufacturers will have a role and private companies will also have roles in delivery of the methane ice stabilizers to arctic permafrost, lakes and the seabeds. .Alternatively the job of spreading the stabilizing agents can be done by government organizations in the arctic countries. The Clean Energy Research Foundation will help by providing research data and guidance as well as monitoring progress of the program and publishing progress reports..


Where will these actions be taken?

The polar countries; Norway, Sweden, Denmark  Finland, Russia, Canada and the United States. Methane clathrate deposits have been discovered off the coasts of nonarctic countries also. Those countries will also be involved in delivery of methane ice stabilizing chemicals. Plants to manufacture chemicals and equipment can be built anywhere in the world.


What are other key benefits?

Warming of the oceans and the arctic permafrost will be limited. The worst case scenario is an out of control spiral of greenhouse warming that causes all methane ice deposits to melt and release gigatons of CH4 with 28-80 times the warming effect of CO2. The end point  might be Venus like conditions where the greenhouse effect destroys all life on Earth. Likelier scenarios are huge rises in sea levels that destroy a third  of the worlds' cities, devastating droughts that starve billions, and a collapse of the world economy. The benefits of the methane ice stabilizing program will be prevention of those losses and economic stimulation of countries that participate. New jobs will be created. The CH4 ice stabilization program must be coupled with efforts to decrease CO2 releases from fossil fuel combustion since the ability of stabilizing agents is limited and CO2 induced warming will eventually restart out of control methane releases. The geoenginering project will be temporary.


What are the proposal’s costs?

Its hard to tell what the costs will be, but they will surely be much less than the costs of rising temperatures, rising sea levels,droughts, and violent weather. The costs of wars caused by the greenhouse effect should be factored in also.

The chemicals and bacteria that make some of them are already used by petrochemical companies in their oil drilling operations. Formulating the methane ice stabilizing agents and experiments to test them will cost less than 100 million dollars, probably considerably less; in the tens of millions of dollars. A sustained and comprehensive program to stabilize all of the worlds methane ice deposits will cost several billion dollars per year, maybe tens of billions.

Taxes can be levied by governments in cooperation with an international treaty organization. Benefits of the spending will be jobs that result in recovery of tax revenues as well as taxes on manufacturers and companies involved in delivering them.


Time line

The current consensus of climatologists is that rising CO2 and methane levels will raise world temperatures by 2 degrees C. There isn't much time to research and develop methane ice stabilizers and methods of distributing them and delivering them- maybe a time frame of 5 years. After their development, the program must be implemented immediately.

If it is implemented quickly, preventing CO2 warming induced methane releases will lower the expected worldwide temperature rise somewhat. It will prevent the worst effects of anticipated greenhouse warming.  Coupled with expected progress in lowering greenhouse gas emissions with wind power, solar energy,  battery powered cars and trucks, energy conservation, and green manufacturing, the methane ice stabilization program should last 30 to 60 years.


Related proposals

No other geoenginering proposals to limit methane ice melting have been published.


References

H. Ganji, M. Manteghian, H. R. Mofrad "Effect of mixed compounds on methane hydrate formation and dissociation rates and storage capacity"
2007 Fuel Processing Technology 88  p. 891–895

Amit Arora et. al  "Effects of Biosurfactants on Gas Hydrates" Journal of Pet. Environ. Biotechnol 2014,. 5:(2)  p. 1000170

Juan G. Beltran "Equilibrium and morphology studies of clathrate hydrates"
PhD  thesis- McGill University, Department of Chemical Engineering McGill University, Montreal June, 2009