German deep-sea research vessel visits Taiwan for ‘fire ice’ exploration

RV Sonne will be carrying out excavation missions off Taiwan’s southwest coast

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RV Sonne (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

RV Sonne (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The deep-sea research vessel RV Sonne arrived at the Banana Pier of Port of Kaohsiung,Oct. 12, on a mission conducted by University of Bremen in Germany to conduct a search of methane clathrate deposits on the seabottom southwest Taiwan, reports said.

Taiwan is believed to possess a high amount of reserves—approximately 500 billion cubic meters of the substance, otherwise known as “fire ice,” beneath the seafloor off the southwest coast, reported Liberty Times.

RV Sonne, launched in 2014 and having carried out explorations at the North Sea and New Zealand, will set out for discovery and excavation of the new energy source with the cutting-edge drill rig MARUM-MeBo-200 capable of con­ducting core drill­ings down to 200 meters be­low sea floor between Oct. 15 and 17.

Methane clathrate, mostly found under sediments on the ocean floors, is touted as the source of fuel for the 21st century, and thought to be twice as large as all the petroleum deposits ever known, according to Associate Professor Saulwood Lin (林曉武) of yhe Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University.