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Synthesis of Natural Gas Hydrate


Search and Investigation of the Methods, Increasing Natural Gas Hydrate Production Efficiency

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-SYN/Basic and Synthetic Chemistry/Chemistry
  • PHY-NGD/Fluid Mechanics and Gas Dynamics/Physics
  • PHY-OPL/Optics and Lasers/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • McGill University / Department of Chemical Engineering, Canada, QC, Montreal\nUniversity of Ottawa, Canada, ON, Ottawa

Project summary

The given project purpose is to search and investigate methods, increasing the natural gas hydrates industrial production efficiency.

Natural gas gives the cleanest burning of all available fuels and it is the source of productive and the most ecologically pure energy. It is valuable raw material for chemical industry. Natural gas demands increase over the world. In the United States the demand for natural gas is expected to grow by 52% in the next 20 years. Economically developed countries, such as European countries, Japan, USA are general consumers of natural gas. As a rule they are situated at great distances from natural gas fields. The offshore natural gas field production increases. That is why total cost of the delivered natural gas is substantially determined by its transporting and storage costs. To reduce natural gas cost it is necessary to develop more efficient methods of the natural gas storage and transporting. One of such technologies that may significantly reduce gas transporting cost is transporting natural gas as Gas Hydrates.

Gas hydrates are non-stoichiometric crystalline compounds that belong to the inclusion group known as Clathrates. Hydrates occur when water molecules attach themselves through hydrogen bonding and form cages that can be occupied by a hydrate-forming gas molecules or volatile liquid molecule. Up to 164m3 of natural gas can be stored in the volume of 1m3 of Gas Hydrate at standard temperature (-10 – 0 0C) and pressure (1 – 10)atm. This great storage potential together with favorable transport conditions will allow to significantly reduce fundamental costs at natural gas transport and storage. Using gas hydrate technology also allows to increase the quantity of the contained methane within available containers in 164 times at easily provided temperature and pressure values. It sounds attractive and stimulates development of hydrate-production methods. So the Great Britain created the hydrate producing experimental industrial facility with productivity rate 1 ton per 24 hours. The facility is designed to work out the technique of gas hydrate production at offshore platforms with the further transporting. In Japan pilot plants on obtaining ice-gas hydrate “tablets” were built. The tablets can be stored and transported at low temperatures. But there is no an efficient and economically profitable industrial technology of gas hydrate production yet.

Principle innovation aspect of the proposed research program is a development of original process of producing gas hydrates on the base of the technologies of fluidized bed granulation and microbubble suspension. The proposed methods of gas hydrate production under research have the following advantages: a greater rate of conversion of water and gas to hydrate per unit volume of reactor because:

  • The overall particle and microbubble surface area available for the liquid to spread (i.e. to form a thin film around the particle) is maximal in the chosen methods.
  • Favorable kinetics of hydrate formation by using hydrate microparticles as seed particles for the further hydrate synthesis is provided.
  • The conditions of heat and mass transfer through thin water film are provided. It must provide the greatest hydrate forming rates.
  • Fresh nuclei particles are continuously recycled to the reactor to maintain the fluidized bed or the required suspension composition for steady-state operation.

From the fundamental point of view gas hydrates are of our interest by the fact that they are the objects of supramolecular chemistry. It is a relatively new science, which studies a different, more subtle principle of chemical matter organization. The principle is based not only on specific chemical bond but on favorable spatial complementary nature of reacting components even in the case, when Van der Waals interactions between them are very slight. The project research program integrates a lot of research subjects, including fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and crystallization. As far as we know simulation of hydrate formation within fluidized bed and within suspension reactor should be studied in more details by the researchers, involved in multiphase reaction studies.

The project participants present the leading scientific school of Russia; they have long-term experience of work in the field of quantum radio physics, laser technology, photo and radiation chemistry (photodissociated, Iodine-oxygen, chemical and CO, CO2 lasers) and non-linear optics (SBS, SRS in gaseous media). They have experience of operation with chemically aggressive gaseous and liquid media, in obtaining homogenous gaseous and liquid-gas mixtures, in the field of high-pressure technology and in creating high-pressure vessels. The existing scientific and technical knowledge, experience in research and experimental work let us look forward to successful execution of the project.

The researches, planned within the limits of the given project, are of fundamental and of applied character. They are directed on simulation of the total system of gas hydrate formation processes with the further usage of the simulation results at search and development of an efficient method of their synthesis. The results, obtained at conducting the researches, mentioned above, after the project completion can be transferred to the firms and institutions, involved into oil and gas exploring and producing, gas storage and transportation, fuel and energy problems and the environment protection. In the first part, it is the collaborators, participating in the project.

Achievement of the stated project purpose will let us hope:

  • On real demonstration of the most efficient and economical process of natural gas hydrate production.
  • On obtaining the further knowledge on hydrate synthesis processes and correspondingly, proved recommends on development an efficient gas hydrate producing method.

In the future it will allow:
  • To use natural gas hydrates to store and transport natural gas.
  • To use natural gas hydrates to develop fuel elements on the base of hydrogen, methanol and solid oxide. Later creating fuel elements (cells), operating on the base of natural gas hydrate in such cases, when natural gas hydrate is converted into gaseous state and the proper reactions produce the required fuel right on the spot of its using, may be possible. It can be more profitable comparing with storage of hydrogen in fuel cells.
  • To make the Earth environment more healthy by avoiding industrial discharge of greenhouse and toxic gases and its utilization from the atmosphere and their ocean bottom disposal. The Kioto protocol states that carbon dioxide discharges to 2008 – 2012 should be less than 1990-year level on 5%.
  • To provide the countries, exporting natural gas in hydrate form, with pure water, as only pure water can form hydrates.
  • To use gas hydrates in the field of medicine. In 1961 L. Poling proposed the theory of anesthesia, based on formation of gas hydrate micro crystals within nerve fibers.

The proposed work corresponds to the ISTC objectives and purposes as it promotes attraction of highly-qualified specialists, previously involved in the weapon researches, for solving scientific and engineering problems of civil purposes, concerning energy transport and production, environmental protection. Scientific level of the personnel, engaged in the researches, without any doubt allows to carry out planned activity successfully. The project results, published in the leading scientific journals, will be available to a great number of scientists and specialists. The project promotes the further integration of Russian research teams into the worldwide scientific community.

Within the limits of the given project we plan to create laboratory facility, to carry out researches and simulations of the complex system of gas hydrate production processes on it and to demonstrate an opportunity of using the obtained results at search and development of an efficient method of gas hydrate production synthesis in industrial production. The pilot facility will operate at temperatures in the range258-2980К and pressures in the range1-100barr and will be computer-controlled.

The specific tasks and simultaneously methods and technical approach of their realization are the following:

  1. Development of methods, measuring gas content in hydrate particles.
  2. A real-time observation for gas hydrates formation processes.
  3. Development of the program software to control the facility operation modes.
  4. To evaluate the effects of reactor geometry and operating conditions (temperature, pressure) on the process stability, its efficiency (rate of conversion) as well as the product quality (gas volumetric content in hydrate)
  5. To investigate the effects of surfactant additions which increase reaction kinetics rate (e.g. sodium dodecyl sulfate)
  6. To investigate the effect of gas composition, containing various molecules of compound structure, which are the parts of natural gas, on hydrate forming efficiency
  7. To investigate the effects of electromagnetic, laser and incoherent light radiation in various spectral ranges onto the processes of gas hydrate destruction, origin and growth.
  8. Experimental and calculation theoretical simulation of the process in order to optimize the process efficiency and product quality.

Within the limits of the given project an active collaboration between Russian scientists and foreign collaborating institutions is planned. The following forms of collaboration are planned:
  • Exchange of scientific information, obtained in the process of the project realization or necessary for the project activity realization,
  • Comments for technical quarterly reports, sent to the ISTC will be presented to collaborators.
  • Collaborative testing of the equipment, created in the process of the project realization, investigation of the obtained product quality, performing collaborative scientific workshops.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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