Apr. 14, 2021
Methane Hydrate Research Begins in the 2014 Academic Year
May 15, 2014
The Dai-nana Kaiyo Maru research ship that will be used for the 2014 survey
Monitoring devices on the ocean floor (from the survey in the 2013 academic year)
Near the top of a hydrate mound emitting methane hydrate in offshore Joetsu (from the environmental monitoring survey in the 2013 academic year)
The Gas Hydrate Research Laboratory commenced research of surface methane hydrate on April 15 for the 2014 academic year.
This research is being conducted with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology as part of the national methane hydrate develop and promotion project and continues work done in the previous academic year aimed at determining the volume of surface methane hydrate resources. The research encompasses five areas: research on wide-area geological survey, detailed geological survey, excavation survey, electromagnetic survey, and environmental monitoring survey. Meiji University will administer the wide-area geological survey, excavation survey, and environmental monitoring survey.
The wide-area geological survey will utilize the Dai-nana Kaiyo Maru research ship (owned by Fuyo Ocean Development & Engineering Co., Ltd.) equipped with echo sounding equipment under the hull to collect information about the microtopography and underlying structure of the ocean floor and to search for hydrate mounds and gas chimneys hypothesized to exist on and below the ocean floor. The wide-area survey will begin on June 15 and is expected to extend over approximately eight weeks of studying the coastal ocean areas from the Tsushima Basin on the west side of the Oki islands to the Oki Trough, offshore Joetsu, Mogami Trough, and offshore Hidaka, Hokkaido. The excavation survey plan aims to collect geological samples, and the environmental monitoring survey plan is to use an unmanned probe (submersible vehicle) to observe the ocean floor and to retrieve and place long-term monitoring equipment.
The wide-area geological and environmental monitoring surveys were also conducted last academic year and the findings were reported at a forum entitled “Shallow Gas Hydrates as Potential Energy Resource” held at the Gas Hydrate Research Laboratory in January of this year. The publication materials are accessible at the website of the Gas Hydrate Research Laboratory.
Methane hydrate is crystallized methane and water compound created by low temperatures and high pressure. Japan’s surrounding ocean area is thought to contain a significant amount of methane hydrate that could become a source of natural gas in the future.