Researchers from Texas A & M University simulated the conversion of shale gas into methanol, a chemical compound that is commonly used in many industrial processes, and normally obtained from natural gas.
Their results showed that the process is economically viable, as it has favorable Return on Investment (ROI) for a broad range of methanol and shale gas prices.
What Is Shale Gas?
The term “shale gas” generally refers to natural gas fields which are less accessible than conventional ones. In fact, the gas is trapped in shale, a sedimentary rock made of particles of clay rocks.
Because of the low permeability of shale, the extraction of the gas is more difficult, and hence, expensive. Recently,
however, there have been substantial developments in drilling techniques; hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), in particular, is a new technology which allows the gas to flow out of the ground despite the shale’s low permeability.