The research team of Professor Hideki Tanaka of Okayama University has elucidated for the first time in the world the mechanism by which substances are adsorbed on methane hydrate.The problem is that some of the transport of natural gas causes methane hydrate to clog the pipeline, which may be a clue to avoid this.

 Methane hydrate is a crystal formed by the combination of water and methane, which is a type of natural gas, and is also called burning ice.It exists on the seabed and in permafrost, and is attracting attention as a new energy source.It can also occur in pipelines that transport natural gas if conditions are met, which can clog the pipes.This measure costs as much as 500 billion yen every year in the world.

 It is thought that the cause of the clogging of the pipe is that the crystals of methane hydrate adsorb various substances on the surface.In this research, we simulated the adsorption of substances on methane hydrate using the supercomputer "K computer".The attractive force acting between substances can be derived from energy or entropy.Entropy is an important concept when considering the movement of molecules in liquids and gases, and represents the degree of dispersion of molecules.Until now, it has been thought that the adsorption of substances on methane hydrate is due to the attractive force derived from energy.However, as a result of the simulation using the K computer, it became clear that the attractive force derived from entropy is working.

 By overturning previously predicted mechanisms, it will be possible to develop entirely new drugs to block pipe clogging.It may help reduce the huge costs currently being invested.It will also be an indispensable technology for the mining and popularization of methane hydrate, which is attracting attention as a new energy source.

Source:[Okayama University] Elucidation of molecular adsorption mechanism on the surface of methane hydrate

Okayama University

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