Climate Protection by an Alternative Use of Methane—The Carbon Moratorium


  • Extended version based on the translation of the German article which first appeared in Chemie Ingenieur Technik, 2008, 80, 901.


Despite a rising output, in the last few decades the known reserves of fossil energy resources have steadily increased. Additionally, there are in all likelihood tremendous reserves of methane hydrate. In view of the climate change, new means must be explored for its use as an energy source. Starting with an assessment of various options for dealing with the carbon cycle and thermodynamic considerations of methane chemistry, a new approach for the use of methane as energy source is developed in this Concept. After thermal methane cracking, only the energy content of the hydrogen is used and the carbon is stored safely and retrievably in disused coal beds. Arguments for the viability of a carbon moratorium of this kind are discussed.