Research Chemists have developed an incredible new substance that could revolutionize the storage of energy and end the World's dependency on middle east oil.
Andrew Cooper and his colleagues at the University of Liverpool, UK, have found that they can trap methane in a bizarre material dubbed ”dry water”, a mixture of silica and water that looks and acts like a fine white powder.
The methane reacts with the water in a unique way to produce a fine crystalline material called methane gas hydrate, in which individual methane molecules are trapped inside ice-like cages of water molecules.
This new discovery provides for the first time a way to store methane conveniently for use as a vehicle fuel. Methane-powered vehicles have the potential to produce far less pollution than those running off petroleum fuels.
“It looks like a powder, but if you wipe it on your skin, it smears and feels cold,” said Cooper.
The new methane powder is so promising that it is even being considered for a Natural gas substitute that could be easily transported to homes in rural areas.
It has been known for years the Huge deposits of the crystalline substance exist in the deep sea, where they could provide vast fuel reserves. Using methane gas hydrate as a kind of ‘’solid methane” for storage and transport is an idea that has tremendous potential, according to the researchers.
Cooper and his colleagues convert water to ”dry water” by stirring it up with a special form of silica, called hydrophobic fumed silica.This consists of tiny grains of silica - the same basic material as sand - coated with a chemical layer that makes them water-repellent. The silica particles cover the surface of water droplets and stop them from coalescing. The resulting ”dry water” is a very amazing substance.