Arctic Sea Ice : Forum

Cryosphere => Antarctica => Topic started by: AbruptSLR on May 07, 2013, 05:59:36 PM

Title: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 07, 2013, 05:59:36 PM
In April, 2013, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said a team aboard the scientific drilling ship Chikyu had started a trial extraction of gas from a layer of methane hydrates about 300 meters, or 1,000 feet, below the seabed. The ship has been drilling since January in an area of the Pacific about 1,000 meters deep and 80 kilometers, or 50 miles, south of the Atsumi Peninsula in central Japan.   With specialized equipment, the team drilled into and then lowered the pressure in the undersea methane hydrate reserve, causing the methane and ice to separate. It then piped the natural gas to the surface.  Other teams are pioneering other means of extracting methane from hydrates with the soil, both in the seafloor and in terrestial areas of the Arctic region.

This raises the question to me about what beneficial uses could be developed for methane recovered from Antarctic methane hydrates, primarily from beneath the ice sheets, but also possibly from the seafloor (see the Antarctic Methane Concentration thread).

For some basics, the first attached figure gives the pressure-temperature stability curves for methane, ethane, propane and iso-butane; while the second image shows the stability curves for various mixtures of methane and propane.  The first graph shows that methane hydrates are stable at basal meltwater temperatures in water depths deeper than about 350 m. 

Therefore, as my first example, if one could locate methane hydrates in the gateway of the Thwaites Glacier, then one could drill down and reduce the pressure until the hydrates in the sediment decompose and fill the drill pipe (like the Japanese), then the methane gas could be gradually introduced into solution into the basal meltwater beneath the Thwaites Glacier gateway (which is all below 350m).  This would stabilize the basal meltwater in this area and would increase basal friction and could possible stop the advective formation of subglacial cavities (if deployed correctly).  If one had a few high priority areas, then one could import propane to be mixed with the methane gas, to result in methane-propane hydrates that are stable at much shallower water depths.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 07, 2013, 06:08:58 PM
Obviously, if commerial quantities of methane hydrates can be located in sediment near any of the major research centers in the Antarctic, then one could drill down, depressurize the hydrates and use the methane as a fuel supply for the research center, rather than import very expensive fuel from the outside world.  Also, if the large research marine vessels were converted to using LNG then the recovered methane could be liquefied and used to supply the research vessels.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 08, 2013, 04:21:11 PM
As a side note, in my earlier posts when I mention that methane decomposed from natural Antarctic hydrates could be used to stabilize basal meltwater, I ment that such meltwater should include any key active subglacial lakes that could contribute to ice mass loss.

However, the main purpose of this post is to acknowledge that what I and others have called methane hydrates are actually "Natural Gas Hydrates" (or NGH), as in addition to methane they include other gases such as propane, ethane, butane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and hydrogen sulfide; which depending on the mix composition changes the temperature - pressure phase stability conditions as indicated in the first attached figure from Sloan 1990 which shows a pressure-temperature stability diagram for water-hydrate-gas mixes of various compositions where the gas gravity is equal to the molecular weight the gas divided by the molecular weight of air.  While the second attached figure shows the stability for NGH for various Russian gas fields Makogon 1981.  The third figure (also from Sloan, 1990) shows the envelope of NGH stability in permafrost, showing the balance of geothermal gradient, depth in the soils, and the phase boundraies for methane and propane.

This indicates that any gas recovered from Antarctic hydrates will have "helper gases" (such as propane, ethane, butane, hydrogen sulfide, etc) that when included in the gas composition make the hydrate stability at higher temperatures and/or lower pressures.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 08, 2013, 04:53:45 PM
I would like to note here that currently the Antarctic resources are excluded (by treaty) from commercial development (which is why I have only discussed non-commerical applications, including supporting research facilities so far).  However, I would like to note here that potential "methane" (or NGH) resources in the Antarctic are estimated to be very large and if proven to be of commercial value could be leveraged by an enlightened international body (such as the UN) to help control GHG emissions, and to supply water to needy areas of the world, sometime after 2050 by exporting the natural gas from the Antarctic in hydrate form in ocean going ships.  Potential this could help climate change by: (a) using the profits to pay for sustainable technology (particularly in the third world), which currently first world countries are finding it difficult to provide adequate funding); (b) the hydrate natural gas could be used to replace dirty fossil fuels such as coal; and (c) the water from the hydrate decomposition from the vessel delivered NGH (natural gas hydrates) could be used in an increasingly water scarce areas.

Their have been many previous proposals to transport natural gas in hydrate form, as indicated by the first attached image (from British Gas, BG), which shows BG's plan to form hydrates at high pressure (in a reaction chamber) and then cool the resulting NGH to -40 C for transport.  But others have proposed more efficient plans such as proposed by Mitsubishi several years ago to not only compress they NGH into pellets (see the second attached figure), but also to transport the NGH pellets at about -5 to -10 C (at atmospheric pressure) due a metastability effect for short-term transport (for weeks).  As NGH weighs more than LNG, such schemes work best for short-term transport routes such as from Antarctica to South Africa and Australia (for of which currently have water shortage problems, which should become much worse with global warming).

Thus if natural gas (methane) could be recovered from the insitu Antarctic NGH, and the treaty could be modified in a way that would benefit the world by fighting climate change, then the transport of the natural gas from the Antarctic in either NGH, or LNG, form could be worth investigating from now to 2050 when the consequences of climate change may be so significant as to merit the use of such a policy tool.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 15, 2013, 07:23:03 PM
As I noted previously, all of the concepts cited in this thread needs to implemented within the framework of the Antarctic Treaty System, ATS, I have cobbled together the following summary (from various sources):

The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington on 1 December 1959 by the twelve nations that had been active during the IGY (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and USSR). The Treaty, which applies to the area south of 60° South latitude, is surprisingly short, but remarkably effective. Through this agreement, the countries active in Antarctica consult on the uses of a whole continent, with a commitment that it should not become the scene or object of international discord. In its fourteen articles the Treaty:
•   stipulates that Antarctica should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. Military activities, such as the establishment of military bases or weapons testing, are specifically prohibited;
•   guarantees continued freedom to conduct scientific research, as enjoyed during the IGY;
•   promotes international scientific cooperation including the exchange of research plans and personnel, and requires that results of research be made freely available;
•   sets aside the potential for sovereignty disputes between Treaty parties by providing that no activities will enhance or diminish previously asserted positions with respect to territorial claims, provides that no new or enlarged claims can be made, and makes rules relating to jurisdiction (see the first attached image of the territorial claims under the ATS);
•   prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste;
•   provides for inspection by observers, designated by any party, of ships, stations and equipment in Antarctica to ensure the observance of, and compliance with, the Treaty;
•   requires parties to give advance notice of their expeditions;
•   provides for the parties to meet periodically to discuss measures to further the objectives of the Treaty; and
•   puts in place a dispute settlement procedure and a mechanism by which the Treaty can be modified.
The Treaty also provides that any member of the United Nations can accede to it. The Treaty now has 48 signatories, 28 of whom are Consultative Parties on the basis of being original signatories or by conducting substantial research there (see the second image). Membership continues to grow.

The Madrid Protocol is part of the Antarctic Treaty System (continuing process), ATS.  Article 7 of the Madrid Protocol (effective 1998) prohibits mineral resource development, other than relating to scientific research. The ban is of indefinite duration and strict rules for modifying the ban are provided. In brief, the prohibition can be modified at any time if all parties agree. If requested, after 50 years (2048) a review conference may decide to modify the mining prohibition, provided that at least three quarters of the current Consultative Parties agree, a legal regime for controlling mining is in force, and the sovereign interests of parties are safeguarded. Consistent with the Antarctic Treaty, a party may choose to withdraw from the Protocol if a modification so agreed does not subsequently enter into force.

For the second decade of the twenty-first century, the vital question is whether the ATS is capable of responding effectively to the challenges posed by illegal fishing and whaling, climate change, commercial tourism, energy, and human security. The litigation in the Japanese Whaling case, brought by the Humane Society International in the Australian Federal Court, provides a salutary warning of the risks to the ATS of unilateral assertions of national jurisdiction over activities in the Antarctic region. The Consultative Parties are now on notice to justify the legitimacy of their mandate and to demonstrate the capacity of the ATS to respond to contemporary Antarctic issues. The 50-year historical evolution of the ATS and its demonstrated capacity for dynamic growth suggest that the regime and its members have the flexibility and political will to maintain its success in the future.

I will post about some of the specific implications of this ATS framework on proposals cited in this thread later.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 15, 2013, 11:04:54 PM
ARTICLE 7 of the Madrid Protocol states:

Any activity relating to mineral resources, other than scientific research, shall be
Furthermore regarding enforcement: according to the Antarctic Treaty, AT, individual governments enforce treaty terms on their citizens who are on the continent; while according to Article XI of the AT:
"1.  If any dispute arises between two or more of the Contracting Parties concerning the interpretation or application of the present Treaty, those Contracting Parties shall consult among themselves with a view to having the dispute resolved by negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement or other peaceful means of their own choice. 
2.  Any dispute of this character not so resolved shall, with the consent, in each case, of all parties to the dispute, be referred to the International Court of Justice for settlement, but failure to reach agreement on reference to the International Court shall not absolve parties to the dispute from the responsibility of continuing to seek to resolve it by any of the various peaceful means referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article."

Thus it is clear that:
(1)  Currently any individual (Elon Musk, Bill Gates, etc), company (ExxonMobil, Chevron, etc.), organization (particularly NGOs), agency, or country (Maldives, etc.) in the world is entitled by the ATS to engage in mineral resource activity for scientific research including for: (a) research on extracting natural gas from Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrates (say by drilling then hydrofracking then reducing the down-hole pressure) ; (b) research on stabilizing ice sheets by use of natural gas introduced in the subglacial hydrological systems in order to form natural gas hydrates; (c) research to export natural gas from the Antarctic in hydrate form; etc.  Certainly Japan's claim to be whaling in the Southern Ocean for scientific research, supports this stated position.
(2) As indicated in the previous post, and highlighted in the attached image, Marie Byrd Land, MBL, is currently unclaimed territory and thus not subject to any national laws, but only to the terms of the ATS (and then only for Contracting Parties).  Thus if a company incorporated in any signatory, or non-signatory (e.g.: Maldives, Kiribati or Tuvalu), country with lacks legal requirements then they could start drilling in MBL immediately provided they meet the environmental requirements of their parent country and the ATS.  Certainly, the growing tourism trade in Antarctica supports this stated position.  Note that the USA has reserved the right to assert their claim to MBL in the future; but if they do so would they be liable for damage done by SLR contribution from VAF (volume above floatation) ice mass loss from MBL (which includes PIG and TG)?

Furthermore, the Madrid Protocol prohibition on commercial mineral resource development can be modified at any time if all parties agree; or if requested, after 2048, a review conference may decide to modify the mineral development prohibition, provided that at least three quarters of the current Consultative Parties agree, a legal regime for controlling mineral development is in force, and the sovereign interests of parties are safeguarded (note that in MBL there is no sovereign interest).  Thus in 2048 if the signatory parties are desperate enough to try geoengineering then the concepts in this thread could by allowed by three quarters of the Consultative Parties; particularly because such geoengineering methods as introducing sulphates into the atmosphere for the next few thousand years, would not only turn the sky pink but would not stop the SLR contributions from the heat content already introduced into the oceans (which is of particular concern to the WAIS).
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 16, 2013, 12:46:20 AM
The attached image shows the CO2 and H2O phase boundaries, in which the abbreviations are as follows: L - liquid, V - vapor, S - solid, I - water ice, H - hydrate.
This figure indicates that if CO2 could be economically captured, it sequestered in Antarctic subglacial lakes; which would also serve to slow ice mass loss from the AIS.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 16, 2013, 01:56:10 AM
I am not saying that this is anything but fanciful thinking, but sometimes necessity is the mother of invention, and by 2048 Tuvalu may need just such thinking, as at its highest, Tuvalu is only 4.6 m (15 ft) above sea level, and is just 26 square kilometres (10 sq mi) in area, consisting of  three reef islands and six true atolls.   Therefore I present the following: if the Tuvalu government were to drill down about 1,000m at one of their atolls, and use hydrofracking to crack the rock all around the cross-section of the atoll, and then were to pump down CO2 (in either gas or hydrate form), then it may be possible to jack-up such a small atoll (or the small islands), as the phase diagram in the previous post and the ocean thermocline  diagram in the attached image; demonstrate that the CO2 hydrates at this pressure (depth) and temperature would be stable (or other "helper" gases [such as natural gas from the Antarctic] could be used in the hydrate formation process).  Note that the density of the carbon dioxide hydrate is approximately 1.1 g/cm³ - slightly larger than seawater, so any CO2 hydrate at the perimeter would not float away.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 16, 2013, 04:03:10 PM
If Tuvalu (or any other island/atoll) gets desperate enough to try to jack-up an island, they may be concerned that the fracture plane with hydrates inserted, could weaken a small atoll; so another fanciful solutions to such a concern would be to build-up a thick CO2 hydrate shoulder around the perimeter of the fracture plane at about minus 1,000 m (or the bottom of the local thermocline).  By 2048 sequestering CO2 captured by the hydrate process cited below (from a July 2009 version of the Los Alamos National Laboratory newsletter "Currents", which cites research that proof tested commerical scale production of CO2 hydrates at Los Alamos National Laboratory and was acknowledge when winning the 2010 R&D 100 award, be the most promising carbon capture system of that year; unfortunately there was/is no market for carbon capture so the method was not implemented commerically ).

"Fossil fuels likely will supply much of the world’s energy needs for decades to come, though the associated carbon dioxide produced continues to pollute our air and cause climate-change concerns. Laboratory researchers have developed a low-temperature way of controlling greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that traps 65 to 90 percent of the CO2 in tiny molecular cages made of water. Called the SIMTECHE CO2 Capture Process, the method pulls CO2 out of a flowing mixture of gases and captures it in an ice-like compound called CO2
hydrate. Once separated from the gas stream, the CO2 hydrate can be decomposed to regenerate CO2 gas at elevated pressures for sequestration or sale on the emerging CO2 market.

“In addition, the 3 to 5 percent of hydrogen sulfide typical in shifted synthesis gas can be separated simultaneously with the CO2,” explained Robert Currier of Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (C-PCS).  The innovative work is a collaborative effort with industrial partners SIMTECHE, Bechtel National, and Nexant Inc., a Bechtel spinoff company.  Currier, the Laboratory principal investigator, was initially approached by SIMTECHE to develop and test the concept.  “As the project focus shifted from basic thermodynamics and kinetics associated with proof-of-concept to engineering-scale demonstration of an integrated process, the Lab team evolved,” Currier said.  The team includes Currier, Dali Yang of Polymers and Coatings (MST-7),
Ron Martinez and Loan Le of C-PCS, and Steve Obrey of Inorganic Isotope and Actinide Chemistry, with contributions from Graydon Anderson and Gary Baca of C-PCS, Jennifer Young of Navy II, Bob Barbero of Actinide Process Chemistry, David Devlin of MST-7, and former employee Michael Sedillo.

Now proven, the SIMTECHE CO2 Capture Process is poised to reduce CO2 emissions at industrial scales. To date, 13 patents on the process have been granted and another is pending, and the technology was recently submitted for an R&D 100 award. “The SIMTECHE CO2 Capture Process is an example of essential technology to address greenhouse gases and represents the role of LANL’s basic science effectively teaming with industry to deliver solutions to the nation’s challenges,” said Terry Wallace, principal associate director for Science, Technology, and

Whether, or not CO2 hydrates are used to jack-up island nations are risk of inundation, this technology may be used for carbon capture and sequestration in the ocean in the future.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 16, 2013, 04:29:54 PM
While natural gas from the Antarctic could be used as a helper gas to promote CO2 hydrates, this application is at the outer edge of the main topic for this thread; while the following provides another illustration of the main idea of this thread to use natural gas, NG (or methane), recovered from Antarctic hydrates to help minimize/slow the loss of Antarctic ice mass loss:

Some may point out that stabilizing the subglacial/basal melt water only addresses part of the problem of ice mass loss (or loss of ice Volume Above Floatation, VAF), while advection of warm CDW is more of a concern.  Therefore, I present the following concepts to either block the troughs across the Antarctic continental shelf, and/or to infill the subglacial cavities created by advection that are leading to grounding line retreat in Amundsen Sea Embayment, ASE, glaciers and ice streams:
- Bottom dump dredging vessels could dump multiple layers of hydraulically dredged sand (possibly coming from Argentina, or from Antarctic continental shelf deposits) in the troughs leading into subglacial cavities such as that for the PIG.  If erosion calculations warrent it then natural gas could be injected slowing into the dumped same in order to cement the sand together with natural gas hydrates, NGH, (as is common in marine sediments), and then possibly more NGH, or CO2/methane hydrates (possibly produced by a process similar to that developed by SIMTECHE for CO2 hydrates as cited in the previous post) could be injected behind this submarine sand berm into the subglacial cavity in order to further stabilize the glaciers.

Furthermore, a similar approach could be applied to block the Filchner Trough which channels warm CDW beneath the FRIS (Filchner Ronne Ice Shelf) or the channel that I identified in another thread leading to the Byrd Glacier in the RIS (Ross Ice Shelf).  Furthermore, (all though off topic) this approach could be used to build a submarine sand berm (infused with natural gas hydrates) across the Bering Straits if research proves that Rolf Schuttenhelm's 2008 proposal to build a dam across the Bering Straits has merit with regard to stopping saline seawater from entering the Arctic Ocean from the Pacific thus allowing the rivers feeding the Arctic Ocean to decrease the salinity of the Arctic Ocean sufficiently to promote sea ice formation so as to slow/stop the albedo flip that we are about to experience.

Again, while these ideas may seem farfetched now, they would be much safer than other geoengineering concepts (such as putting sulfur aerosols into the atmosphere for the next thousands of years), and would be of particular value if the world controls CO2 emissions by 2050, but then must try to slow SLR resulting from heat content already stored in the ocean by 2050.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 16, 2013, 06:01:25 PM
As another "civil" type of geoengineering for the Antarctic ice sheets (both the WAIS and the EAIS), I will note that with time (say years) hydrate forming free gases such as natural gas recovered from Antarctic hydrates will infuse into soil ice and transform it into hydrate form.  Thus, if geoengineers wanted to make zones of Antarctic glacial ice resistant to melting when exposed to warm temperatures (such as along the bottom of the glacier from geothermal heat or along a grounding line ice face subject to advection) then they could drill into the ice zone (using horizontal drill technology) and then hydrofrack the ice zone and inject free natural gas and hold it there for some time (a year or more).  While such local hydrate zones with the glacial ice mass could be subject to calving due to gravity ice flow; nevertheless, for some time they should help to stabilize the glacial ice flow, and this process could be repeated as necessary.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 16, 2013, 07:00:32 PM
I previously noted that Marie Byrd Land (MBL) is presently unclaimed by any nation, but that the USA has reserved the right to claim this area in the future (based on past explorations).  Here I note that while under the current situation research on the possible applications of methane (or natural gas) to stabilize the ASE glaciers is unrestricted; but I suspect that before any sizeable geoengineering is performed to stabilize say PIG or Thwaites Glacier that it would be better to the USA to exercise its legal claim to sovereignty over the MBL as this would give drilling companies, contractors and facilities operators a better sense of legal certainty.  It is also possible that the US Congress might be willing to finance such geoengineering ideas by 2050 in exchange for the UN and the ATS parties recognition of US sovereignty over the largest unclaimed land area in the world.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Methane Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 04, 2017, 05:03:34 PM
Possibly no one has posted in this thread recently, because no one took the risk of abrupt ice mass loss from Antarctica seriously before DeConto & Pollard (2016), and also since scientists like Eric Rignot have stated that there is little that can be done to prevent the collapse of the WAIS in the coming 200 years.  However, now that Bakker et al. (2017) have verified the plausibility of the collapse of the WAIS this century (see the first image), and as other geoengineering concepts cost hundreds of billions of dollars per year to implement, and as the Mardid Protocol part of the Antarctic Treaty System will require renegotiation before 2048, I think that it is time to start posting here again.

In this regards, the second attached image [from Pollard, DeConto & Alley (2015)] shows the importance of hydrofracturing to destabilize both buttressing from ice shelves and to destabilize ice plugs, before cliff failures can begin; I note that per the third and fourth images, that water solutions with isobutene (R-600a refrigerant), propane, or isobutene-methane mixtures can form stable hydrates all the way from the top of crevasses down to the basal meltwater subglacial drainage system.  Thus if some one (government or entrepreneur) where to drill holes in key glaciers like PIG and Thwaites they could plug any void that could either cause hydrofraturing or lubrication of the bottom slip surface of such glaciers.

Both isobutene and propane have short lives (of a few weeks) in the atmosphere, have low GWP (from 3 to 4), and can be delivered by commercially available refrigerated tanker ships to the gateway of any Antarctic marine glacier.

As I like this idea, I am replacing the word 'Methane' with 'Natural Gas Hydrocarbon' in the title of this thread.

Edit: See also Reply #1 for some other hydrate phase diagrams
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 04, 2017, 05:46:24 PM
If anyone is having difficulty imagining how solutions of isobutene and water could be used to stabilize key marine glaciers, I note that:

(1) The first image shows extensive fields of crevasses in the ice plug in the Thwaites Glacier gateway into which it would be easy to pump in a solution of isobutene and water (which forms stable hydrates at atmospheric pressure near 0C) that would effectively heal these crevasses.

(2) I believe that lateral pressure from the Southwest Tributary Glacier is promoting major calving events in the PIIS (see the second image), and thus if one were to drill down to the bottom of the SW Tributary Glacier and inject a suitable solution of water and hydrocarbon (say propane or isobutane) this would slow the ice flow velocity of this glacier as hydrates provide 'stickier' bottom conditions than does natural ice.

(3) The third image shows a cross-sectional analysis by Yu et al (2017) of the Thwaites ice plug (near the base of the Thwaites Ice Tongue) and local ice shelf with cracks in the lower portion of the ice shelf.  Thus, if one where to drill how and inject a solution of either propane or isobutane and water into these bottom cracks/crevasses then one would help stabilize the buttressing action of this local ice shelf on the critical Thwaites ice plug.

The fourth image is from:

Modelling Amery Ice Shelf/Ocean Interaction
by:Ben Galton-Fenzi
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Hobart, Australia
Simon Marsland(CSIRO), John Hunter (ACE CRC),
Richard Coleman (UTas)
WAIS/FRISP meeting: 27 Sept 2009, Pack Forest

The fourth image shows the ice shelf - ocean interaction including tidal action, advection, ice shelf water (ISW), frazil ice production, marine ice accretion and the influence of frazil ice on turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) which affect current mixing/stratification/circulation.  Thus if one were to drill down just upstream of the grounding line and were to inject a solution of either propane or isobutane and water, then not only would the grounding line be stabilized but so would the marine ice adhering to the underside of the ice shelf.  This is applicable for the stabilization of any key ice shelf.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 04, 2017, 09:17:03 PM
The linked reference(s) by Bassis & Ma (2015) shows that basal crevasses for ice shelves with cold water pools can heal themselves by infilling with marine ice; while with warm water pools the crevasses can 'burn' through the shelf thickness by melting (see images).  I note that injection of such basal crevasses with isobutane hydrates would allow such crevasses to heal with ice shelves with warm pools.

Bassis and Ma (2015), "Evolution of basal crevasses links ice shelf stability to ocean forcing", Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 409, 1 January 2015, Pages 203-211,

Extract: "Iceberg calving is one of the primary mechanisms responsible for transferring ice from the Antarctic ice shelves to the ocean, but remains poorly understood. Previous theories of calving have sought to explain the calving process as a brittle phenomenon that occurs rapidly when surface or basal crevasses penetrate the entire ice thickness. Here we show that the strain-rate-weakening nature of ice permits initially narrow basal crevasses to seed an instability that gives rise to locally enhanced ductile deformation and thinning over length scales that are large compared to the ice thickness. This ductile failure process, called necking, amplifies long wavelength features of bottom topography and allows basal crevasses to penetrate an increasing fraction of the ice thickness as they advect downstream. Application of the model to the four largest Antarctic ice shelves shows that necking occurs downstream of pinning points and sharp protrusions in the ice shelf embayment where stress is highly concentrated. However, model predictions are sensitive to assumptions about basal melting and refreezing within crevasses, suggesting that the combination of mechanical instability and ice–ocean interaction on the scale of an individual crevasse may play a leading role in controlling ice shelf stability".

See also:
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 04, 2017, 09:55:49 PM
The linked reference discusses how gas hydrates in the bed sediment beneath marine glaciers can cause 'sticky spots' that can regulate ice stream flow rates:

Winsborrow, M., K. Andreassen, A. Hubbard, A. Plaza-Faverola, E. Gudlaugsson and H. Patton (2016). "Regulation of ice stream flow through subglacial formation of gas hydrates." Nature Geosci 9(5): 370-374, DOI: 10.1038/NGEO2696

 Abstract: "Variations in the flow of ice streams and outlet glaciers are a primary control on ice sheet stability, yet comprehensive understanding of the key processes operating at the ice–bed interface remains elusive. Basal resistance is critical, especially sticky spots—localized zones of high basal traction—for maintaining force balance in an otherwise well-lubricated/high-slip subglacial environment. Here we consider the influence of subglacial gas-hydrate formation on ice stream dynamics, and its potential to initiate and maintain sticky spots. Geophysical data document the geologic footprint of a major palaeo-ice-stream that drained the Barents Sea–Fennoscandian ice sheet approximately 20,000 years ago. Our results reveal a ∼250 km sticky spot that coincided with subsurface shallow gas accumulations, seafloor fluid expulsion and a fault complex associated with deep hydrocarbon reservoirs. We propose that gas migrating from these reservoirs formed hydrates under high-pressure, low-temperature subglacial conditions. The gas hydrate desiccated, stiffened and thereby strengthened the subglacial sediments, promoting high traction—a sticky spot— that regulated ice stream flow. Deep hydrocarbon reservoirs are common beneath past and contemporary glaciated areas, implying that gas-hydrate regulation of subglacial dynamics could be a widespread phenomenon."

Also see:

Title: "Regulation of Ice Stream Flow Through Subglacial Formation of Gas Hydrates"

Extract: "Based on the presence of extensive sedimentary basins and modelling studies (Wadham et al., 2012; Wallmann et al., 2012) it is proposed that abundant gas hydrate accumulations are present beneath the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. Also, gas hydrates have been identified in ice core samples obtained from above the subglacial Lake Vostok in East Antarctica (Uchida et al., 1994). The role of potentially widespread gas hydrate reservoirs in the modification of the thermomechanical regime at the base of contemporary ice sheets, which makes them critically sensitive, as well as their impact on ice steam force balance and dynamics has, so far, not been recognised. This control that was previously unforeseen, given the current lack of knowledge with regard to the distribution of gas hydrate, represents a significant unknown in attempts to model the current and future discharge and evolution of contemporary ice sheets, as well as their contribution to rising global sea levels."
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 05, 2017, 12:03:15 AM
For those who question whether hydrocarbon hydrates can be transported by pipelines in cold climates, the linked website discusses how Fluor (many other comparable entities have comparable technology) already has proven technology for pumping hydrocarbon slurries in cold (cryogenic) conditions (such as into Antarctic glacial crevasses):

Title: "Slurry Pipelines"

Fluor is developing its expertise in cold flow technology as well as in the transport of hydrates in a slurry form.

Fluor has filed a provisional patent application on self-lubrication of hydrate based slurry pipelines.

It is estimated that there are very large reserves of hydrates in the Arctic and near Japan. Traditionally the technology has been to prevent hydrate formations in pipelines, but the emerging approach is to catch those hydrates and transport them in a slurry form to save on costs of anti-coagulants, expensive insulation etc.

Client Benefits
Fluor understands the dynamic nature of the various technologies and demand for transporting hydrates. Fluor offers Clients expertise in moving solids in liquids to more efficiently capture this valuable source of energy. Fluor's extensive pipeline experience in a variety of climates and conditions provides Clients with the necessary know-how to successfully execute the transport of hydrates in slurry form."
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 05, 2017, 05:28:03 PM
I doubt very much that Black BAU advocates (Kleptocrats/Vulture Capitalists), nor Green BAU advocates (Globalists/4th Industrial Revolution Members, see the first linked article), will adopt my proposed use of hydrocarbon hydrate slurries to stabilize key ice shelves, and key ice plugs, in the WAIS before it is too late to save them.  Indeed, such people on both the right and left will not admit that we are following the worst case scenario for the WAIS shown in the attached image until around 2035, when there will be no doubt that we are following the upper scenario shown in this image.  Thus, in my next series of posts in this thread, I will cite some concepts that could be used during the main cliff failure events from 2040 thru 2090, to use hydrocarbon hydrates to help stabilize the armada of icebergs for towing, so that beneficial use can be made of this valuable resource, and also to reduce the impact of Hansen's ice-climate feedback mechanism.

Title: "Why remote Antarctica is so important in a warming world"

Extract: "What was once thought to be a largely unchanging mass of snow and ice is anything but. Antarctica holds a staggering amount of water. The three ice sheets that cover the continent contain around 70% of our planet’s fresh water, all of which we now know to be vulnerable to warming air and oceans. If all the ice sheets were to melt, Antarctica would raise global sea levels by at least 56m.

Where, when, and how quickly they might melt is a major focus of research. No one is suggesting all the ice sheets will melt over the next century but, given their size, even small losses could have global repercussions."
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 05, 2017, 11:50:01 PM
As additional background to my concept to use hydrocarbon hydrates to facilitate the towing of large numbers of Antarctic icebergs from the Southern Ocean northward, from about 2040 to 2090 when the WAIS maybe be collapsing; I make the following comments:

1. Current solar radiation management, SRM, and negative emission, concepts are estimated to cost multiple hundreds of billions of dollars per year to implement.  Thus, if towing large numbers of icebergs from the Southern Ocean to tropical oceans were to not only stop Hansen's positive ice-climate feedback mechanism, but also to reduce a possibly high ECS value (say 4 to 4.5C) down to a lower value (say 3C or less), by cooling selected surfaces of the ocean, that would be a valuable feature of the plan (see the first image).

2. Continued climate change is projected to result in shortages of freshwater, including in key groundwater storage basins (see the second image).  Thus if the 2040-2090 iceberg towing concept were to help address this issue, that would also be a valuable feature.

3. Ocean thermal energy conversion, OTEC, is a valuable form of green sustainable energy (see the third image).  So if the towing plan facilitated such operations that would also be a valuable feature.

4. Many green technologies are dependent on valuable (but with limited reserves) metals that might be supplied by deep sea mining in the coming decades (see the following two linked articles, and the fourth image).  Thus if the 2040-2090 iceberg towing concept were to facilitate this issue, that would also be a valuable feature:

Title: "Is deep sea mining vital for a greener future – even if it destroys ecosystems?"

Extract: "A new gold rush is targeting rich ores on the ocean floor containing valuable metals needed for smartphones and green technologies, but also hosting exotic ecosystems

Mining the deep ocean floor for valuable metals is both inevitable and vital, according to the scientists, engineers and industrialists exploring the world’s newest mining frontier.

The special metals found in rich deposits there are critical for smart electronics and crucial green technologies, such as solar power and electric cars. But as the world’s population rises, demand is now outstripping the production from mines on land for some important elements.

Those leading the global rush to place giant mining machines thousands of metres below the sea surface say the extraordinary richness of the underwater ores mean the environmental impacts will be far lower than on land. But critics say exotic and little-known ecosystems in the deep oceans could be destroyed and must be protected.

Dozens of exploration licences have already been granted for huge tracts of ocean floor and world leaders, including the G7 nations (pdf), have their eyes on the opportunities. But the rules to ensure the responsible exploitation of this global resource are still being written.

The acid test is set to be the start of commercial sea bed mining, due to begin within two years, 1,600m below waters off Papua New Guinea. There, Nautilus Minerals plans to release three giant crawling machines to grind up rocks rich in copper, zinc and gold and pump the slurry up to a custom-built surface ship at a rate of over 3,000 tonnes a day.

“The seafloor contains some of the largest known accumulations of metals essential for the green economy, in concentrations generally much higher than on land, so it is inevitable that we will eventually recover essential resources from the seafloor,” he said.

Companies backed by Russia, Germany, France, Portugal, South Korea, Brazil and more are all pushing ahead on deep sea mining and almost all of the Atlantic ridge from the equator to the Arctic circle has been claimed in recent years. Now Norwegian researchers are exploring the seafloor deep into the Arctic circle and have found several new vent systems near Jan Meyen island.

“I think there is huge potential,” says Filipa Marques, at Bergen University, adding that Norway’s 40-year history of offshore oil and gas puts it in a strong position to exploit the resources.

Most of the people involved in deep sea mining expect large-scale commercial production in about a decade, with companies seeking to benefit from the experiences of Nautilus. “Everyone is racing to be second,” says Fjellroth."


Showstack, R. (2017), "Deep-seabed mining may come soon, says head of governing group", Eos, 98,

Extract: "New regulations could open the door for sustainable mining, says the head of the International Seabed Authority. However, he and others pointed to environmental, financial, and technical challenges.

Hannington cautioned that although the number of areas with evidence of some valuable minerals is “astounding,” there is a big difference between a potential mineral resource and just a mineral occurrence. Global mining companies, he observed, currently are on the sidelines and don’t necessarily view deep-seabed mining as something of immediate interest.

Once new regulations governing exploitation are approved, possibly within a few years, mining likely would start slowly at relatively small scales, according to Lodge and others. “I think it will start off with a few operators who are willing to take the risk and invest that capital,” said Lodge. However, at least one expert attending the seafloor mining forum disagreed with that forecast. Larry Meinert, deputy associate director for energy and mineral resources at the U.S. Geological Survey, told Eos that he doesn’t see “a viable way to develop deep-sea mining as an industry.”
“No company could afford to put in a billion dollars of assessment to figure out whether this could be done,” said Meinert, who spoke about minerals at an earlier session of the NASEM meeting. “There’s no economic model that could pay for that.”
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 07, 2017, 04:12:22 AM
In subsequent posts, I will discuss how supplementing OTEC with icebergs from a WAIS collapse from 2040 to 2090 impacts the assessment in the linked reference:

Krishnakumar Rajagopalan & Gérard C. Nihous (2013), "Estimates of global Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) resources using an ocean general circulation model", Renewable Energy, Vol.5,

Global Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) resources are assessed for the first time with an ocean general circulation model (OGCM). Large-scale OTEC operations are represented with fluid sources and sinks of prescribed strength in global (4° × 4°) MITgcm simulations. Preliminary steady-state (time-asymptotic) results show similarities, but also significant differences with earlier one-dimensional (1-D) studies. It is confirmed that global OTEC resources are likely limited by OTEC flow effects on the stability of the vertical oceanic thermal structure. Such a limit is several times greater in a full three-dimensional context, however, with an estimated maximum annual OTEC net power production of about 30 TW. The significant OTEC flow rates corresponding to maximum net power output would result in a strong boost of the oceanic thermohaline circulation (THC). In contrast to simple 1-D analyses, the present simulations of large-scale OTEC operations also show a persistent cooling of the tropical oceanic mixed-layer. This would be balanced by a warming trend in the higher latitudes, which may practically limit OTEC deployment to smaller flow rates than at maximum net power output. An annual OTEC net power production of about 7 TW, for example, could be achieved with little effect on the oceanic temperature field.

► OTEC resources assessed for the first time with an ocean general circulation model. ► OTEC resources are limited by the stability of the oceanic thermal stratification. ► A maximum OTEC net power production of about 30 TW was estimated. ► With large OTEC operations, cooling of the tropical oceanic mixed-layer persists. ► At maximum OTEC power output, the Atlantic THC doubles from 15 Sv.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 08, 2017, 12:29:28 AM
In the most crude version of my concept to use wrangled icebergs from a collapsing WAIS for geoengineering, would be to use the equal of large ocean-going tugs to pull such icebergs out of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and into one of the Peru/Humboldt Current, the Benguela Current and/or the West Australian Current (see the first image).  These currents would slowly convey these icebergs to the warm equatorial waters shown in the second image, and due to wave mixing and salinity differences this cold meltwater would remain in the 0 to 150m water depths (see the third image of such meltwater in the Southern Ocean).  Having this cold meltwater near the surface of the topical oceans would serve to accelerate the MOC (see Reply #19) and thus would prevent the projected short-term/pulsed increase in ECS projected by Hansen and Sato (2012) shown in the fourth image. To demonstrate that these icebergs would have sufficient energy to act as a geoengineering mechanism, I provide the following values:

- WAIS ice volume = 3,262,000 cubic km
- Antarctic Peninsula ice volume = 227,000 cubic km
- Ross Ice Shelf volume roughly = 473,000 sq km x 0.5 = 240,000 cubic km
- Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf volume roughly = 430,000 sq km x 0.5 = 220,000 cubic km
- Total ice volume assumed lost by 2100 = 4,000,000 cubic km
- Total ice mass assumed lost by 2100 = 3,670,000Gt = 3,670,000,000,000,000,000 kg
- Total latent heat of assumed ice lost by 2100 = 333.55 kJ/kg X 3.67 ^ 18 = 1.224 ^21 kJ
- Additionally, to heat one kilogram of water from 0 °C to 20 °C requires 83.6 kJ
- Thus to both melt all this ice (from 2040 to 2100), and to bring it to a tropical surface water temperature of 20C, would require about 1.5 ^21 kJ
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 08, 2017, 01:10:51 AM
As cited in my last post (Reply #20) the energy to both melt all ice ( from a WAIS collapse from 2040 to 2100), and to bring it to a tropical surface water temperature of 20C, would require about 1.5 ^21 kJ (1.5^24 J).  While the tropics are only a small percentage of the total ocean surface, and while this meltwater would be limited to the top 150m of water depth (for the decades under consideration), I provide the two attached images of total ocean heat content (in joules) for the upper 700 m of water; which indicates that the WAIS ice contains a lot of energy:
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 08, 2017, 05:40:45 PM
My last two posts present a crude concept for using icebergs from a WAIS collapse for geoengineering, which might be something that a desperate national leader could order his/her navy (or tugboat fleet) to do without much planning if the world were undergoing a climate change socio-economic collapse, and thus does not paint a pretty picture of human foresight.  However, the linked reference(s) present one concept that could be used more make a more thoughtful use of an armada of icebergs in the Southern Ocean; which is the use of ice cooled ocean thermal energy conversion, OTEC, and freshwater capture.  This article indicates that the use of ice for cool and improve the 3% conversion efficiency for a typical OTEC system of that era up to 5%, and also demands less parasitic pumping energy.  While this reference considers a nearshore facility located in Saldanha Bay, South Africa (see the three attached images) and was never built despite viable economic projections (see the extracts); in my next series of posts I plan to outline a concept for grounded offshore ice OTEC/water facilities that could also be used in conjunction with deep sea mining operations; and which could be tested prior to 2040:

David J. DeMarle (1980), "Design Parameters for a South African Iceberg Power and Water Project", Annals of Glaciology, Vol 1, pp 129-133.

Abstract: "Construction of an iceberg processing plant at Saldanha Bay, Republic of South Africa, is proposed. A reservoir would be constructed at Rieibaai for ice storage. Tidal forces would be harnessed to pump the warm water of Saldanha Lagoon over heat exchangers (using ammonia or propane gas as a heat exchange medium), thus providing power for electrical generators and for melting ice. A functional analysis of operations is presented, together with proposed costs . It is suggested that the fresh water and electricity produced by this system will cost $0.06/m³ and $0.03/kwH, respectively."

Extract: "A small tideway dam ,could be constructed between Schapen Island and Langebaan which would be used to control the tidal flow of water between Saldanha Bay and Lagoon. As the ocean tide rises this darn would be opened and would allow cold water to enter the lagoon. On the ebb of the tide, this dam would be closed and would force the warm lagoon water to flow out of the lagoon through the channel between Schapen Island and Rieibaai.

Assuming that an iceberg 300 m by 900 m by 200 m thick remained after towing from an appropriate Antarctic location, this would yield 45,900,000 m3 of water worth $2,754,000 at a cost of $0.06/m3. With a latent heat of fusion of 3.332 x 105 Jkg- 1, the ice would have 1.532 x 106 J of cooling capacity. This represents a total power potential of 4.25 x 109 kWh.  At $0.0 3/kW, this represents a value of $127 600 000. However, not all of this power would be available. If the power plant had an operating efficiency of 5%, the ice could be used to produce $6,380,000 worth of electricity."

See also:

David J. DeMarle (1979), "Ice cooled ocean thermal energy conversion plants", Desalination,

Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 08, 2017, 10:25:08 PM
The DeMarle (1979/1980) references show that with proper financial incentive it is already practicable/reasonable to develop isolated nearshore ice cooled OTEC and freshwater projects for such Southern Hemisphere countries as South Africa, Australia, Chile, Argentina and New Zealand, all of which have gateway cities that already provide access to Antarctica.  The first image shows that these cities are: Christchurch, New Zealand; Hobart, Australia; Ushuaia, Argentina; Punta Arenas, Chile; and Cape Town, South Africa.  Furthermore, the following linked website gives regular updates on the location of existing icebergs in the Southern Ocean, several of which are already north of 60 degrees South; and which could already be captured for small pilot programs (costing hundreds of millions of dollars) for any entrepreneur/government wishing to progressively developed appropriate technology for possible ramp-up if/when the WAIS starts a main phase of collapse (herein assumed to begin ramping up circa 2040):

For such ramped-up programs, I propose to use any/all of the five gateway cities as staging areas to support marine operations to prepare hydrate enveloped iceberg assemblies comparable to that shown in the second image of a ~20km (long) by ~600m (wide) by ~350m (vertical) train, which the RAND Corp verified was feasible to tow long distances in the linked 1973 report on the feasibility of using Antarctic icebergs as a source of freshwater:

The third image shows that near 0 degrees C, isobutane hydrates are stable below atmospheric pressure while methane hydrates are stable in about 260 meters of water depth.  Therefore, icebergs coming from Antarctica with keel depths of 260 meters or more, could be enveloped in isobutane hydrates on the top and shallow sides, with natural gas hydrates (of various compositions ranging from pure propane to pure methane) at greater depths for the sides and keel; injected as slurries within high-strength fabric wrappers comparable to the geotextile skirt proposed by Georges Mougin in the fourth image (see the following two links)

Furthermore, I propose to:
1. Make the fabric wraps composite with the hydrate shells (once the slurries harden into solids) via strap attached to the wraps and extending into the hydrate shells;
2. Configure the wraps so as to improve the hydrodynamics of the iceberg assemblies for towing.
3. Extend the wraps around more than one iceberg so that the hardened hydrates between the icebergs bond these multiple icebergs into one effective monolith; with a suitable shape to be grounded at the deep-water receiving site.  Here is assumed that for receiving sites with water depths between 300 to 600m that the monoliths would be ballasted to roll onto their sides; while for water depths deeper than about 600m the monoliths would be ballasted to flip on their ends and to be nested with other flipped monoliths for lateral stability once grounded.
4. Provide some ballast tanks that would be attached to the inside of the wraps and embedded within the hydrate shells, for stability during tow.  Also, if needed, that during the tow cavities would be hydraulically hollowed out in select locations with the icebergs to facilitate any rolling or flipping operations required to ground the assembles at the receiving site.

The general idea is that the hydrate shells would reduce the melting of the icebergs during tow, and would contain what ice does melt; and that once grounded the assembles would support such operations as: ice cooled OTEC, freshwater transported to populated areas by tankers, and possibly: deep-water mining, aquiculture, and port facilities.

I will discuss more details in subsequent posts.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 08, 2017, 11:18:12 PM
To provide a few more details of the hydrate enveloped iceberg assembly concept discussed in previous posts:
1. The first image shows how buoyancy tanks can be used to deploy and shape fabric wraps/curtains (here showing supporting netting for a tuna farm pen in Baja California.

2. The second image shows a double scissor mechanism that could be used to: (a) hold the shape of the fabric wrap until the annular hydrate shell sets-up; and (b) keep the hydrate shell in contact with the iceberg(s) as the annular ice melts.

3. The third images shows (as one example application) deep sea mining (of massive sulfide deposits, MSD) locations proposed to be developed within a few years in and near the Bismarck Sea in water depth on the order of 1,000 m.  Here grounded hydrate-iceberg assemblies could support dry mine shafts into the MSD, and ice cooled OTEC, and freshwater supply by draining the melt water from within the hydrate shell into delivery tankers (if economical for delivery were needed) .

4. The fourth image shows that cool discharge water (seawater and/or freshwater depending on economics) from the ice cooled OTEC operation would follow surface currents to cool the West Pacific Warm Water Pool, which should reduce the number of El Nino events and thus reduce ECS.

I note that if substantial amounts of fresh melt water is conveyed to an pumped on to land (for beneficial uses), that this could reduce the amount of sea level rise caused by a potential collapse of the WAIS.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 09, 2017, 12:06:28 AM
Here are some more follow-up points:

1. The first image shows conceptually how a para sea anchor could potentially be deployed as a means to improve the economics of towing hydrate-iceberg assemblies long distances (either following currents or cutting across currents).

2. At water depth around 1,000 m ocean water temperatures are typically around 4C which could be pumped up (thru conduits located in the hydrate shell) to provide additional cooling for an ice cooled OTEC.  Also, the second image indicates that at depths over about 800 m that CO₂ hydrates would be stable on the seafloor, so such a grounded hydrate-iceberg facility could support industrial operations (such as processing massive sulfide deposit material) with carbon capture and sequestering of CO₂ in hydrate form on the seafloor around the grounded assembly.

3. The third image shows that there are numerous kimberlitic diamond pipes located in water depths on the order of 1,000 meters in both the South and Tropical Atlantic.  It might be feasible to drop dry mine shafts through a grounded hydrate-iceberg assembly, in order to access such diamond sources.

4. The fourth image shows that large portions of the Gulf of Mexico have water depth more than 375 meter (relatively close to shore) where hydrate-iceberg assemblies with ice-cooled OTEC facilities could operate and supply both electricity and freshwater while simultaneously cooling the surface water temperature of the Gulf Stream.

Edit: I noted that if properly engineered the grounded hydrate shells could be stable even after their melted iceberg cores have been drained away.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 09, 2017, 12:31:51 AM
Here are some more follow-on points:

1. The first image shows a representative profile of the oceans thermocline in the tropics; which can possibly be used to help support OTEC operations and CO₂ hydrate sequestering.

2. The second image shows that there are will be many areas in the tropics that are suited for ice cooled OTEC plants that will experience water shortages due to climate change and that could benefit from a freshwater supply.

3. The third image shows a typical OTEC plant that can provide air conditioning, and aquaculture in addition to both electricity and freshwater.

4.  The fourth image shows an old concept to build a barrier across the Bering Strait in order to regulate the flow of warm ocean currents into the Arctic Ocean.  While this may be acceptable now, it is conceivable that following a climate change driven socio-economic global collapse between 2050 and 2060, that it might be found accept to deploy grounded hydrate-iceberg (possibly from Greenland) assembles to form the backbone of such a temporary barrier (in order to help slow Arctic Amplification).
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 09, 2017, 07:16:51 PM
As a follow-on to my last series of posts on hydrocarbon hydrate enveloped icebergs, I note that:

1. The first image shows that West Antarctica is comparable in area to Western Europe and thus there is plenty of iceberg area for making marine barriers beyond providing a barrage across the Bering Strait.  Other temporary barriers could include: (a) Storm surge barriers to guard key cities like New York, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, etc; (b) Barriers across key straits like: Gibralter, Hormuz, Bab-el-Mandab etc to protect against SLR; or (c) Barriers to shield the interior of island archipelagos possibly to protect floating cities located in the interior.

2. At the end of a temporary feature's (barrier, island, lagoons etc) life, the hydrate shells could be melted within the fabric/membrane wrap so the hydrocarbons could be captured and reused.

3. Industrial facilities from endangered coastal cities could be relocated to nearby grounded hydrate icebergs (possibly by floating in on barges thru a gated opening in the hydrate shell and then hydraulically lifted (like a lock) up to the top of the grounded iceberg.  Furthermore, aerosol emitting industrial facilities could then be relocated to areas where aerosol could interaction could help lower climate sensitivity such as to the tropical oceans of the world (and possibly to an ice cooled OTEC facility located there).

4. The hydrate icebergs could be used as temporary scaffolding/forms for the construction of marine facilities (say mine shafts or barriers) that would be difficult to build otherwise, and then the hydrate iceberg could be melted away.

5.  If methane hydrates are discovered beneath the WAIS, then hydrofacturing drilling technology could be used to recover natural gas that could be used to fabricate deep portions of the hydrate shells.

6.  The second image shows that typical icebergs in the Amundsen Sea Embayment are larger than those assumed by the RAND Corporation concept, and thus it could be useful to develop the para anchor towing concept which might make it more practical to tow larger natural icebergs which might be impractical to envelop in hydrate shells until they have partially melted while being towed.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 11, 2017, 04:16:33 AM
Large Antarctic icebergs can float in the Southern Ocean for decades before they fully melt away.  Thus it is likely that a large fabric wrapped/hydrate encased Antarctic Iceberg assembly grounded on a subsea ridge in the Southern Ocean such as on the Agulhas Ridge off the coast of South Africa (see the first two images) it would certainly last for decades as well (note the third image shows that the Agulhas Ridge is south of the Subantarctic Front).  The fourth image shows an ice cave in an Antarctic iceberg, and as icebergs do not flow (like glaciers do) one could rely on the stability of ice caves melted by humans within a grounded hydrate-iceberg assembly on the Agulhas Ridge to be able to serve as operational facilities for functions such as:

1. Mining for subsea diamond in kimberlitic pipes (see Reply #25)

2. Serving as a staging base (supported from Cape Town) for assembling more hydrate-iceberg assemblies to launch into the Benguela Current to move northward to the Tropical Atlantic and/or the Gulf of Mexico.

3. Serving as a refuge in the event of a nuclear war as few meters of ice is excellent protection from radiation.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 11, 2017, 08:23:54 PM
As a follow on to my last post I note that:

1. As Antarctic Icebergs are 91 percent submerged, and as cliff failures can occur when over about 100m of ice extends above water (for a tabular iceberg), I do not consider grounding hydrate-iceberg assemblies in more than 1,000m of water depth.

2. As (at depth) carbon dioxide hydrates are denser than seawater, they are suitable for both preparing the seafloor for receiving a hydrate-iceberg assembly that is to be grounded, and to help fix the assembly to the seafloor once it is grounded.

3.  As many (most) Antarctic icebergs that are about 1km wide (and thus suitable for rolling before grounding to expose the formed isobutane hydrate side to the surface) are more than 3km long, such assemblies (that are intend for providing a working base/island) would be long enough to construct a runway for large commercial and/or military aircraft.

4.  Three, or more, on the order of 3km by 1km by 600m assemblies could be grounded together (and linked together by hydrate infilled fabric joint flaps) to form a working harbor to support large deep-draft vessels and/or icebergs waiting to be assembled.

5. The third image shows how the PRC has modified an island in the South China Sea to accommodate both military vessels and military aircraft in order to project power beyond its borders.    Thus I note that a grounded base such as that cited in my last post on the Agulhas Ridge would also function as a military base to help guard navigation around the Cape of Good Hope during a period of collapsing global social order.

6. As the ocean conditions are relatively rough near the Agulhas Ridge, it might be advisable to assemble the multiple hydrate-iceberg units for a large combined airport, harbor, mine, military base, work base, refuge from nuclear blasts etc at the Agulhas Ridge at another assemble base near Campbell Island (NZ) as shown in the second & third images (note the water depths on the nav. chart are in fathoms).  Campbell Island is located near 52 degrees South, and thus is close enough to the Subantarctic Front to serve as hydrate-iceberg assembly staging facility.  Furthermore, Perseverance Harbour on the island is suitable as a working harbor for the assembly fleet, and the island is close enough to Christchurch, NZ for resupply.  Furthermore, a base at Campbell Island would be well located for launching ice-cooled OTEC assemblies into the Peru/Humboldt Current for eventual transport to the West Pacific Warm Pool.

Wikipedia quote: "Campbell Island / Motu Ihupuku is an uninhabited subantarctic island of New Zealand, and the main island of the Campbell Island group. It covers 112.68 square kilometres (43.51 sq mi) of the group's 113.31 km2 (43.75 sq mi), and is surrounded by numerous stacks, rocks and islets like Dent Island, Folly Island (or Folly Islands), Isle de Jeanette-Marie, and Jacquemart Island, the latter being the southernmost extremity of New Zealand. The island is mountainous, rising to over 500 metres (1,640 ft) in the south. A long fjord, Perseverance Harbour, nearly bisects it, opening out to sea on the east coast."

7.  Lastly, for this post, I provide the fourth attached image that shows a conceptual mobile offshore base, MOB, for military use, and I note that under war situations hydrate-iceberg assemblies could be used in a floating mode to project military power comparable to a much more expensive MOB.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 11, 2017, 08:35:54 PM
Just a quick post to note that by melting caverns/tunnels with the iceberg core of a hydrate-iceberg assembly (including initially for flipping, rolling and ballasting down) could potentially provide lots of well protected operational space, that could be made comfortable as illustrated by the first two images of ice hotels and could be colorful (the third image show an Antarctic ice cave with pink ice, and the fourth image shows ice caves in an Antarctic iceberg with blue ice).
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 11, 2017, 08:49:47 PM
As I have previously noted possible staging areas at the Agulhas Ridge and at Campbell Island, for launching assemblies into the Benguela Current and the Peru/Humboldt Current, respectively; I here that the islands on the Amsterdam St Paul (ASP) Plateau in the Indian Ocean (see the first two images) would be close enough to the Subantarctic Front to launch ice-cooled OTEC assemblies into the West Australian Current for transport to the Tropical Indian Ocean.

Furthermore, for general reference, I prove the third image of general bathymetry in the Southern Ocean, and the fourth image of Territorial claims in Antarctica.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on December 20, 2017, 05:43:52 PM
As an early application, if one wanted to use an Antarctic iceberg to facilitate the development of massive sulfide deposits, MSD (see the first two images), in the Bismarck Sea (which is already permitted (see the third image); then one could just inject a hydrate slurry into the interstitial annular space between the iceberg and the minimal skirt as shown in the fourth image, and then mine the deposit using the iceberg as a temporary form, after set-down. The iceberg would likely take some years to melt (without active circulation of warm water as in the case of an OTEC facility), and the freshwater melt-water could either be conveyed to shore or vented to the ocean.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on May 01, 2018, 09:11:24 PM
Necessity is the mother of invention:

Title: "Icebergs could be towed from Antarctica to solve Cape Town drought, expert says"

Extract: "Plans have been unveiled to tow icebergs from Antarctica to South Africa to help solve Cape Town's crippling water shortage.

Mr Sloane, who led the re-floating of the Costa Concordia cruise liner in 2014, said his team could wrap passing icebergs in fabric skirts to protect them and reduce evaporation.

"We want to show that if there is no other source to solve the water crisis, we have another idea no one else has thought of yet," he said.

Large tankers would guide the blocks into the Benguela Current that flows along the west coast of southern Africa, before a milling machine would cut into the ice.

A single iceberg "could produce about 150 million litres per day for about a year," around 30% of Cape Town's needs, Mr Sloane said.

The director of the marine salvage firm Resolve Marine said he was planning to hold a conference later this month to try and sell the $130m (£95m) project to officials and investors."
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: DavidR on May 02, 2018, 04:32:22 AM
"Icebergs could be towed from Antarctica to solve Cape Town drought, expert says"

This seemed such as silly idea, I had to crunch numbers.

Roughly we are talking about  a 50 million tonne iceberg being towed a little over 4000 km. Thats the equivalent of 200 250,000 tonne tankers or 700 large passenger liners.  Assuming the Iceberg is 50 meters thick thats a one kilometre square iceberg.

To pull such a large object at any useful speed would require perhaps as many as 1000 tugs or one every 4 metres of the perimeter of the berg.  They would have to be sufficiently  large to sail into Antarctic waters and probably negotiate considerable sea ice to get near the iceberg.   

To acheive this the tugs would have to be taken away from their normal duties for at least 30 days, which would be a collosal cost to world shipping. Far higher than then nominal cost of hiring that many tugs on a per day rate. One charge I found for a largish tug was $25K per day,  and even that adds up to $750M over a 30 day hire for 1000 tugs.

Comparing this with the cost of desalination which could produce 50 million tonnes of water for less than $100 million it seems to make a lot more sense to get on with building a desalination plant.  Cape Town's water problems wont evaporate in a year unlike their water.

Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: Stephen on June 14, 2018, 12:54:52 AM
Towing the icebergs is an old idea that been around for nearly 50 years.

In fact in 1978, an eccentric Australian business identity named Dick Smith set up an April fools prank by towing a bundle of styrofoam covered in a white canvas into Sydney Harbour, then held a press conference and told everybody it was an iceberg. (

But the some faily simple calculations will prove that it is more efficient to use the energy to desalinate seawater than it is to burn diesel by towing icebergs.
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on June 14, 2018, 11:31:29 PM
What is fantastical to one man is plausible to another:

Title: "Could towing icebergs to hot places solve the world’s water shortages?"

Extract: "The idea of towing an iceberg from Antarctica to the UAE sounds fantastical, but might not be entirely beyond the realms of plausibility"
Title: Re: Possible Novel Applications of Antarctic Natural Gas Hydrocarbon Hydrates
Post by: AbruptSLR on July 02, 2018, 03:43:38 PM
Full speed ahead for Antarctic iceberg towing by 2020:

Title: "Will Antarctic icebergs solve fresh water crisis in UAE?"

Extract: "Colossal icebergs floating off the coast of UAE is no more an insane stretch of imagination. By 2020, icebergs from Antarctica are going to be the UAE's biggest tourist attraction, according to The National Advisor Bureau Limited, an Abu Dhabi-based private company.

In a world-first, the company, on Sunday announced the launch of a trailblazing project to tow icebergs from Antarctica to Fujairah in the eastern coast of the UAE at an estimated cost of more than $50 million.

"The UAE Iceberg Project is an economically, technically and commercially feasible idea now. Once completed in 2020, this will mean an end to water scarcity in the region and UAE will become one of the biggest exporters of fresh water in the world," Abdulla Mohammed Sulaiman Al Shehi, managing director of the company, told Khaleej Times.

The company had made international headlines when it first announced the project in May 2017. But it was soon kept under wraps after the UAE government denied any involvement in the project.

"We were doing the feasibility study since last five years. Now we have developed a unique technology to tow the icebergs with minimum melting during transportation. We are good to go." said Al Shehi.

While the details of the technology will be announced later this year, Al Shehi said high-capacity tow-boats that can tow icebergs weighing up to 100 million tonnes or more will be used in the feat.

"The first step is to locate and select the icebergs using satellite imaging. The sea currents northwards will be the main force that will move the colossal icebergs. Tow boats will assist and guide the iceberg in their movement," added Al Shehi who is also the author of Filling the Empty Quarter, a book that offers out of the box ideas to harvest fresh water.

According to him, it will take anything up to nine months to complete the iceberg haul from Antarctica to Fujairah.

"The cost and time will vary hugely depending on the size and shape of the Iceberg. We are looking at a cost that will start at $50 million and can even go up to $120 million. It is not predictable now," said Al Shehi, adding that the project is completely funded by private parties.

Once the iceberg is offshore, Al Shehi said the company will start harvesting fresh water for consumers. Blocks of ice will be chipped off from the surface, crushed into water and then stored in large tanks.

The Antarctic ice sheet is the single largest block of ice on Earth, containing over 60 per cent of the world's fresh seawater.

"Global warming is causing the ice to melt causing the wastage of millions of gallons of water. This is when 1.2 billion people around the world are living without access to clean water. As per UN estimates, by 2030, more than 50 per cent of the world's population could be facing water shortage. The iceberg project aims to support the response to water calamities such as drought worldwide, and support other water projects aimed to promote the humanitarian work," said Al Shehi.

The first phase of the project is set to begin by the second half of 2019. "In the trial phase, we will tow an iceberg towards the coast of Perth in Australia or Cape Town in South Africa. We will study the wave and heat effect, the suitable weather conditions and also learn about charting the right route for towing," said Al Shehi.

Regarding the international laws and permissions required to implement the project, the official said: "The High Sea Code states that icebergs are a water resource and can be subjected to acquisition by private parties and moved to any part of the world."

He said governmental authorisation was also not required to bring the iceberg to the UAE as it will be resting in international waters off the country's coast. "What is also important is that we are not targeting icebergs in Antarctica. We will be towing icebergs that broke off and are floating in the high seas some 3,000 miles away from Antarctica.""