Hydrous methane is sometimes called "white gold." But what is it, exactly? It's the result of the decomposition of live matter which is usually stored in non-deep layers of our soil. Currently, the common source is under permafrost. Now, because of an increase in overall temperatures, hydrous methane is being released into the atmosphere, and contributing to the greenhouse effect. There's also a good amount of hydrous methane under the sea inside the upper layers under water. This, some say, is potentially easy to extract.
Although rich in water, hydrous methane decomposes at normal temperatures in methane and water, and this makes it readily available for use as a fuel, with all the advantages (burns clean) and inconvenience (CO
. The process is very similar to the methane produced in landfills. Current investigations in
are pursuing the efficient use of this gas and some estimates are that it could provide 100 years of natural gas at current usage levels.