Polycrystalline methane gas hydrate (MGH) was synthesized using an ice-seeding method to investigate the influence of pressurization and ethanol on the hydrate formation rate and gas yield of the resulting samples. When the reactor is pressurized with CH4 gas without external heating, methane hydrate can be formed from ice grains with yields up to 25% under otherwise static conditions. The rapid temperature rise caused by pressurization partially melts the granular ice, which reacts with methane to form hydrate rinds around the ice grains. The heat generated by the exothermic reaction of methane hydrate formation buffers the sample temperature near the melting point of ice for enough time to allow for continuous hydrate growth at high rates. Surprisingly, faster rates and higher yields of methane hydrate were found in runs with lower initial temperatures, slower rates of pressurization, higher porosity of the granular ice samples, or mixtures with sediments. The addition of ethanol also dramatically enhanced the formation of polycrystalline MGH. This study demonstrates that polycrystalline MGH with varied physical properties suitable for different laboratory tests can be manufactured by controlling synthesis procedures or parameters. Subsequent dissociation experiments using a gas collection apparatus and flowmeter confirmed high methane saturation (CH 4·2O, with n = 5.82 ± 0.03) in the MGH. Dissociation rates of the various samples synthesized at diverse conditions may be fitted to different rate laws, including zero and first order.
Additional publication details
Methane hydrate synthesis from ice: Influence of pressurization and ethanol on optimizing formation rates and hydrate yield