2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
Paper No. 208-13
Presentation Time: 5:00 PM-5:15 PM

TEACHING ABOUT METHANE HYDRATES

LOXSOM, Fred and SMIRNOVA, Alevtina, Environmental Earth Science Department, Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226, loxsomf@easternct.edu

Methane Hydrates represent a potential source of unconventional fossil fuel energy, a source of a potent greenhouse gas, and a possible mechanism for carbon sequestration. We are currently teaching a course that deals with the basic science and the applications of methane hydrates. This course primarily serves undergraduate students enrolled in the Energy Science track within our Environmental Earth Science B.S. major. Students in the Energy Science track take the same set of core geosciences courses as students in the conventional track, but also take a series of courses about energy resources and energy applications. This topic is very appealing to students in both the earth science track and the energy science track and clearly illustrates the central role of geoscience in main current energy issues. The methane hydrates course is an advanced course and assumes that students have successfully finished the introductory energy science course, a semester of chemistry, and the introductory geosciences sequence. Although we could not find a suitable textbook, we have found a wealth of useful material in the form of monographs, research reports, research papers, and online materials. We do not teach a laboratory section to accompany this lecture course, but have developed some useful laboratory demonstrations.

The course includes study of the following topics

  • Thermal properties of hydrates in sediments
  • Kinetics of natural hydrate dissociation
  • Properties of methane hydrate sediments
  • Extent and content of methane hydrate deposits
  • Feedback between climate change and methane hydrate deposits
  • Characterization of known methane hydrate deposits, leading to estimates of total accessible methane
  • Dangers associated with methane hydrate harvesting
  • Case studies of current research projects that are assessing methane harvesting methods
  • Carbon dioxide sequestration combined with methane harvesting
  • In-situ methane hydrate energy harvesting using fuel cells

We are planning an end of the semester field trip to the Woods Hole Science Center to visit the gas hydrate group.

2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 208
Energy Education in the Geoscience Classroom: Preparing Future Citizens, Scientists, and Policy Makers
Colorado Convention Center: Room 201
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 5, p. 497

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