Ocean Energy: Gas Hydrates

By: Staff Reporter
The Ministry of Earth Sciences established National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) to serve as its technical arm for taking up technology development and demonstration projects in major areas of ocean energy, a reliable and commercially viable multi-functional system for the extraction of energy from sea water. Gas hydrate exploration amounts to one of its prominent achievements.
Renewable Energy

Gas hydrates with its abundant resource potential are emerging as a potential cleaner fuel resource. The preliminary assessment of geological condition and limited available seismic data suggests high possibility of occurrence of large quantity of gas hydrates within the exclusive economic zone of India. The scheme is broadly divided into the science component and technological development. The progress of implementation of the gas hydrate programme in the country is as follows:


Science component

The multichannel seismic data collected by various organisations have been evaluated by the Ministry in recent years. Based on the data two promising sites of 100 km x 100 km were identified in Krishna – Godavari (KG) and Mahanadi basins for detailed survey. Deep sea core sampling was carried out onboard a French vessel in the KG basin and Mahanadi Basin in May 2007 and 31 long sediment cores were acquired. Further, in one of the significant development, the gas hydrates were synthesised successfully in laboratory as a part of an experimental project. The work on science component is undertaken by National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

Image 1: Remotely operated Autonomous Coring System
Image 1: Remotely operated Autonomous Coring System

Technological Development

Remotely operated Autonomous Coring System (ACS) is a device equipped with tool handling system and cam gate assembly to drill 3 m section [100 m sediment core], retrieve the sample, and store in a magazine at the seabed during deep-sea operation in depths of about 3000 m. The system is first of its kind and is under development in collaboration with Williamson and Associates, USA since August 2007. The ACS is at present being developed in Seattle, USA and the first sea trial is expected at Puget Sound Sea, soon for ground truth validation of gas hydrate sites.

NIOT also has the mandate for the development of technology for gas hydrates exploration in which remotely operable vehicles can play a significant role as support vehicles. The Ministry has also taken up a project to develop and demonstrate a 6000m rated deep water world class remotely operable vehicle (ROSUB 6000) in association with the Engineering Design Bureau of Oceanological Engineering, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.

Inputs from Annual Report 2008-09. (MoES/2009-10/6)

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