ISIS-linked militants are threatening huge natural gas reserves the world needs badly right now.
With war looming in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria among other places, the world is in urgent need of fuel. The main problem is that fossil fuels like gas, oil and coal have a finite lifespan. If we continue using them, they will only last so long — but the problem is that the world has not found a way to store them underground like their ancestors did.
When it comes to natural gas, it is known that the Arctic Circle holds about 40 percent of the planet’s gas reserves, and that the Mariana Trench holds up to 6,000 feet below sea level. Both have been locked in place by the immense pressure of the Earth’s core.
What I find especially interesting is that the US Geological Survey estimates that there is an amount of carbon dioxide in the Arctic that is equivalent to the total carbon dioxide that India pumps out every year and is just about as much as India has used since it began the Industrial Revolution.
In addition, the USGS is also suggesting that the Arctic, which once was the world’s biggest oil reserve, may now hold large reserves of natural gas. All the same, it is impossible to build an efficient underground storage system for carbon dioxide, let alone for natural gas.
But there is a way — but it is not a solution. Rather, it is a kind of Trojan horse: a storage medium that is impervious to the heat and pressures of the deep Earth. The idea in brief is to use carbon dioxide as a lubricant for a type of supercapacitor which is basically a large capacitor that can store a lot of electrical charge — but because it is a gas, the heat and pressure are not involved.
While the idea of supercapacitors is not new, it is possible to build them by assembling lots of carbon nanotubes, the building blocks of carbon fibers, arranged into a complex structure — the more complicated the better — and then wrapping it in a liquid, like oil.