The German gas hydrate initiative “SUGAR – Submarine Gas Hydrate Reservoirs” is a collaborative R&D project with 20 partners from SMEs, industry and research institutions. The project is coordinated by the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR). SUGAR I was launched in 2008 and successfully continuing in its 2nd phase, running from 2011 to 2014 and the current 3rd phase running until December 2017.
The SUGAR project has set out to develop marine methane hydrates as a new, unconventional resource of natural gas and to combine its production with the safe sequestration of carbon dioxide from power plants and other industrial sources
in CO2 hydrates below the seafloor. This large-scale national project is funded by two federal ministries and the German industry.
Increasing utilization of coal as energy source is the main reason for the current rise in global CO2 emissions. The power supply for rapidly growing economies, particularly in China and India, is primarily based on coal. But these emerging countries also possess vast reserves of methane hydrates in their economic zone, providing the opportunity to switch to natural gas and, in addition, to safely store the CO2 from industrial point sources. Globally, an estimated 1000 – 10,000 Gt of carbon is stored in gas hydrates. Most of it is found below the seafloor along the continental margins. However, in order to be able to use this large energy potential, environmentally safe as well as economic production technologies have to be developed. German SUGAR technologies will be available to interested parties to help mitigating anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
SUGAR is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Additional financial and R&D support is provided by the companies RWE Dea AG, Wintershall Holding GmbH, BASF SE, E.ON Ruhrgas AG. All participating SME partners finance 50% of their project budget.