Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ice ice baby

For those who like to look ahead, past the day when the last drop of oil has been squeezed out of the earth, after all the gas pumps at all the Gas 'N' Go outlets are dry, and after there's not even enough petroleum to make Vaseline...there is an energy source that is just being developed.

In China, they have figured out a way to extract gas - methane - out of ice from the South China Sea.

Already, we can plan on Ford coming out with with big ice chests in the back.

There is a lot of gas in methane hydrates, but it's not so easy to get it.  And what they are calling "flammable ice," even though it seems like a variation on those boozy ice luges so popular at wedding receptions and Senior Center picnics, is like a Slurpee in which methane molecules are trapped by water molecules.

It must be awful to be trapped like that, like you want to stay in New York but your spouse takes a new job and you wind up having to move to Washington. That is a frozen drag.

Ice burn
Anyhow, this slushy mixture can stay in the ocean or on land in permafrost, and if you hold a lighter up to it, whoosh! A flame appears, and this is why energy company executives are all excited by another chance to make a fortune off the earth. 

This could be the last-ever source of carbon-based energy, which is fuel that comes from burning biofuels (corn) or fossil fuels (dinosaur remains.)  

Earth science teachers will notice my tendency to reduce everything complicated to very simple terms.  We power our cars from corn stalks or Dino the T-Rex, and now a snowball looks like it can run the world someday, as long as we choose "regular" and not "egg custard."

Of course, there is a risk in all this. If the ice is not handled properly, a great deal of methane will escape into the environment, which would cause a whole lot more environmental damage than all the carbon dioxide we currently dump in the air out of the exhaust pipes of our mini-limos.

Image result for rick perry stupid energy ideasBut we can always listen to our US Energy Secretary Rick "Rick" Perry, a man who gets the date of the American Revolution wrong by 200 years and the amount of Supreme Court justices wrong by 1. Fortunately, he once called for the abolition of the agency he now is in charge of, so maybe by the time Slusho Methane stations are open across America to fuel up your Icemobile, there will be no problems.

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