Scientific News

Gas hydrates stored at the bottom of the European seas could be the energy of the future

An interesting study carried out by researchers at the University of Southampton confirms the existence of large deposits of gas hydrate to bridge the gap between fossil fuels and renewable sources if only the latter were to be used. Gas hydrate, or “gas hydrate,” also known as “burning ice,” is a gas usually stored in large quantities in a solid ice-like form. It consists of water and natural gas (often methane) and is usually found under the sea bed or near the coast.

Recent research had already shown that this gas could play a role in coal replacement in the coming decades, at least until the level of renewable energy is sufficient overall. This study represents a sort of “inventory” of gas hydrate deposits and was created in the context of the European Commission funded project called MIGRATE (Marine Gas Hydrates: An Indigenous Resource of Natural Gas for Europe).

The researchers have identified several sites where there are direct or indirect indications of the presence of hydrated gas. These sites are located on the west and east coasts of Greenland, in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, off the coast of Norway and the west of Ireland and in some limited areas of the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.

“We have found that gas hydrates are particularly widespread around Svalbard, off Norway and in the Black Sea, but the hydrate systems have only been well analyzed in some areas, so there may still be a lot to discover,” says Tim Minshull, a researcher at the University of Southampton who led the study team.