Carbon dioxide or methane?

Here’s something I learned last night at Cafe Scientifique from one of our chemists, Chris Hendy.

Lake Rotorua produces a significant amount of methane. It just bubbles up to the surface from below. We could harvest it, and fuel a small power station; enough to provide energy to a small town. 

"But Oh No" – I hear you cry – "Not more fossil fuel burning giving more carbon dioxide".  Well, bear in mind that methane is a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so you’ll actually be reducing global warming by doing this.

In case you’re worried, I am not advocating putting a gas rig in the middle of the lake, I just thought it was worth a mention.  Burning methane (natural gas) is not a problem IF the methane would otherwise end up in the atmosphere anyway.

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