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Methane storage and transport via structure H clathrate hydrate Susilo, Robin


This thesis examines the prospect of structure H (sH) hydrate to be exploited for methane storage. The methane content in the hydrate, hydrate kinetics and conversion rates are areas of particular importance. Experiments and theory are employed at the macroscopic and molecular levels to study the relevant phenomena. sH hydrate was successfully synthesized from ice particles with full conversion achieved within a day when thermal ramping above the ice melting point was applied. It was found that a polar guest (tert-butyl methyl ether / TBME) wets ice more extensively compared to two hydrophobic guests (neo-hexane / NH and methyl-cyclohexane / MCH). TBME also has much higher solubility in water. Consequently, the system with TBME was found to exhibit the highest initial hydrate formation rate from ice particles or in water in a well stirred vessel. However, the rate with the hydrophobic guests was the fastest when the temperature exceeded the ice point. Thus, the applied temperature ramping compensated the slow kinetics below the ice point for the hydrophobic guests and allowed faster overall conversion than the polar guest. Structure, cage occupancy, composition and methane content in the hydrate were also determined by employing different techniques and the results were found to be consistent. It was found that the methane content in structure H hydrate with TBME was the smallest (103-125 v/v) whereas that with NH was 130-139 (v/v) and that with MCH was 132-142 (v/v). The methane content in structure II hydrate by using propane (C₃H₈) and tetrahydrofuran (THF) as the large guest molecule were also estimated. Optimal methane content was found at approximately 100 (v/v) for both C₃H₈ and THF systems with the large guest concentrations at 1% for C₃H₈ (10°C) and 1% for THF (room temperature). The gas content is of course lower than that for structure I hydrate (170 v/v) but one should consider the fact that the hydrate formation conditions are much lower (less than 1 MPa). Finally, MD simulations revealed for the first time the formation of defects in the cavities for the TBME/methane/water (sH hydrate) system which may affect hydrate stability and kinetics.

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