SEATTLE - The University of Washington School of Oceanography is one of seven Universities across the country recruited to study what may be a major global energy source.
The Department of Energy is issuing $5 million in funding for the study of methane hydrates.
UW researchers have already captured and studied the ice-like substance that can be found in arctic permafrost and along nearly every underwater continental shelf in the world.
The methane has nearly the identical energy potential to that of natural gas, but at this point there is very little information about how it could be extracted.
The UW team, led by Assistant Professor Evan Solomon, will get new samples of the ice and study how temperature changes in the ocean could lead to natural releases of the high concentrations of carbon it contains.
Solomon said he has taken chunks of the ice from the sea floor and provided us video of it burning in his hand.