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Alternative Realities, Writing

Writing Challenge – The New Frontier

A small and independent methane hydrate mining operation.

A small and independent methane hydrate mining operation.

There’s a new power source that is getting people very excited right now and it’s called Methane Hydrate. Basically it’s methane-packed ice which has been formed in the deepest parts of oceans.

Estimates are that this ice holds more energy reserves than any of the others combined. This means that there is more energy in this ice than there is in all of the oil, gas and coal combined.

According to sources, there are 160 cubic metres of gas held in each cubic metre of ice. These are like energy diamonds they’re so compressed! Just imagine, no longer will the West’s decisions be dominated by its need for Russian gas, or Saudi oil. No longer will they need to worry about the damage that carbon fuel sources are causing to the climate as they can pump the CO2 caused by this into the areas that the methane is currently held, even pumping the CO2 that the methane causes when used.

But, where nature gives with one hand, it takes with another. Methane is 30 times more damaging than CO2 if it escapes. If the West suddenly turns its back on the oil producing countries, what happens to them? Will we see a ‘gold rush’ with frontier-towns both above and below the sea appearing? What damage might these new ‘cowboys’ cause as they compete to supply the new demand? How will technology change to harness this new power source? Will we see our vehicles converted to burn methane? What wars might be fought over these resources, and how will they be fought? Who will police the new frontiers?

All of these makes for a very cool “Wild West in Space, but actually it’s underwater” type situation. Corporations, governments, independent miners and Whale-drivers (just like cattle-drivers) all competing above and below the sea. All taking risks, some of which will pay off, some of which might have catastrophic consequences.

Whatever happens, I hope that I’ve kicked off some ideas and that someone will take this and write a cool story. Send it over if you do, I’d love to stick it up on the blog.

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7.


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