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Energies 2013, 6(6), 3002-3016; doi:10.3390/en6063002

A Counter-Current Heat-Exchange Reactor for the Thermal Stimulation of Hydrate-Bearing Sediments

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences Section 4.2, Telegrafenberg, Potsdam 14473, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 March 2013 / Revised: 16 May 2013 / Accepted: 7 June 2013 / Published: 18 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Gas Hydrate)
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Since huge amounts of CH4 are bound in natural gas hydrates occurring at active and passive continental margins and in permafrost regions, the production of natural gas from hydrate-bearing sediments has become of more and more interest. Three different methods to destabilize hydrates and release the CH4 gas are discussed in principle: thermal stimulation, depressurization and chemical stimulation. This study focusses on the thermal stimulation using a counter-current heat-exchange reactor for the in situ combustion of CH4. The principle of in situ combustion as a method for thermal stimulation of hydrate bearing sediments has been introduced and discussed earlier [1,2]. In this study we present the first results of several tests performed in a pilot plant scale using a counter-current heat-exchange reactor. The heat of the flameless, catalytic oxidation of CH4 was used for the decomposition of hydrates in sand within a LArge Reservoir Simulator (LARS). Different catalysts were tested, varying from diverse elements of the platinum group to a universal metal catalyst. The results show differences regarding the conversion rate of CH4 to CO2. The promising results of the latest reactor test, for which LARS was filled with sand and ca. 80% of the pore space was saturated with CH4 hydrate, are also presented in this study. The data analysis showed that about 15% of the CH4 gas released from hydrates would have to be used for the successful dissociation of all hydrates in the sediment using thermal stimulation via in situ combustion. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal stimulation; in situ combustion; gas production; counter-current heat-exchange reactor thermal stimulation; in situ combustion; gas production; counter-current heat-exchange reactor

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Schicks, J.M.; Spangenberg, E.; Giese, R.; Luzi-Helbing, M.; Priegnitz, M.; Beeskow-Strauch, B. A Counter-Current Heat-Exchange Reactor for the Thermal Stimulation of Hydrate-Bearing Sediments. Energies 2013, 6, 3002-3016.

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