Speeding the Search for Better Methane Capture

Speeding the Search for Better Methane Capture

Like the Roman god Janus, methane presents Earth’s atmosphere with two situational faces. As the main component of natural gas, methane when burned as a fuel produces less carbon dioxide than the burning of oil or coal, which makes it a plus for global climate change. However, pure methane released into the atmosphere via leaks from unconventional oil and gas extraction, coal mining or from the melting of Arctic ice is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, contributing an estimated 30-percent of current net climate warming. To exploit the good and blunt the bad, effective ways of separating and capturing methane must be found. This presents a huge challenge, however, as methane, unlike carbon, interacts poorly with most other materials, making it difficult to physically capture. [Lire plus]