April 12, 2006

POPULAR MECHANICS reports on undersea methane hydrates as a potential energy source:

“Thirty years ago, hydrates were a novelty,” says Miriam Kastner, a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a geochemist on the IODP expedition last fall. “We didn’t realize their significance, and no one calculated how much there could be.” Then someone began to do the math. Methane bound in hydrates could provide the world with an astounding amount of natural gas–if it could be safely extracted. If released inadvertently, it could cause untold damage: hastening global warming and kick-starting tsunamis by causing seafloor slumping.

Yes, the sudden release of undersea methane was the kickoff for John Barnes’ Mother of Storms. Good scenario for a science fiction disaster-thriller, but not something we’d actually want to see.

On a tamer alternative-energy front, here’s an article on evolution in plug-in hybrid auto technology.

Me, I favor plug-in hybrids and lots of nice, clean nuclear plants. No greenhouse ramifications there.

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