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IIT-M recreates Space Fuel

Published on January 11, 2019
The researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) have recreated space fuel by simulating interstellar conditions in the laboratory.
IIT-M recreates Space Fuel
  • It is a big breakthrough for India in the exploration of cleaner and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel.
  • The discovery has the potential to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into a next-generation energy source to curb greenhouse gases and global warming.
  • The research of the IIT-M in this regard has been published in the journal proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


  • The team from IIT-M was able to create methane-containing clathrate hydrates in ultra-high vacuum (1000 billion times below the atmospheric pressure) and at a temperature close to -263 degrees Celcius. i.e. the conditions at deep space.
  • This discovery of hydrates at extremely low pressures and ultra-cold temperatures is highly unexpected.
  • The team predicts that molecules like methane and ammonia in space could exist in a completely different form than what is known to us.

Tackling Climate Change:

  • Clathrate hydrates are crystalline solids containing gases like methane and carbon dioxide trapped in well-defined cages of water molecules.
  • These hydrates, especially of methane, are considered to be the fuel of the future.
  • The researchers then repeated the experiments with carbon-di-oxide and similar hydrates were produced.
  • This can be a breakthrough in dealing with global warming.
  • Now carbon dioxide can be trapped from the atmosphere and carbon dioxide gas can be sequestered as solid hydrates under the sea bed.


Q. The researchers from which institute have recreated space fuel by simulating interstellar conditions in the laboratory?
a. Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi
b. Indian Institute of Technology-Kolkata
c. Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay
d. Indian Institute of Technology-Madras
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