Gas Hydrates Research Database and Web Dissemination Channel


Last Reviewed 1/20/2010

Project Goal

The goal of this project is to facilitate advances in hydrate applications through the formation of the U.S. Hydrate Database, thus permitting the submission and retrieval of high-quality hydrate data that include—but are not limited to—thermodynamic, structural, and geophysical data.


National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Boulder, Colorado 80305


Methane in natural hydrate is known to be a major, dynamic constituent of the global carbon cycle. Research activity and interest in methane hydrates has significantly increased over the past several years due to uncertainty of its resource potential for natural gas, implications to global climate change and seafloor stability issues. As a result of this flurry of research activity, the amount of hydrate data being generated by research organizations, universities, and National Laboratories across the United States has become very overwhelming.

During 1900-1910, there were only two refereed hydrate publications, and any interested worker could access both archival journals in which they were published. However, during 1990-2000 there were 3,010 refereed hydrate publications, extrapolating to over 8,000 additional hydrate-related publications in the current decade. Unfortunately, there is currently not an orderly and efficient means of readily accessing this volume of valuable information. As such, this project seeks to develop a publicly accessible database of hydrate information and data generated by research groups within or funded by entities in the United States.

Potential Impact of this research

There is a significant amount of hydrate-related data that has been or is being generated by research groups within the United States. In addition, there is a significant amount of research that remains to be done to address questions related to hydrate location, characterization, understanding, and use. The accumulation of and provision of access to existing data is a critical part of efficiently and effectively conducting future research on hydrate-related issues. By providing a single location for access to available hydrate data, this project holds the potential to enhance the capabilities of scientists in the U.S. and around the world, to determine critical hydrate research paths and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of future research activities.

The U.S. Hydrate Database stores information on a relational Oracle based system with Web-Oracle infrastructure for Web-based dissemination. It contains some 120 physical properties of hydrates, as well as evaluated experimental data, allowing for continuous updating and reliability analysis. The database is constructed so that it may be connected with international databases through a portal, which is under development from ODATA.


  • Gas Hydrate Advisory Group was established - project assembled a set of experts in the hydrates field to serve as an advisory committee during the development of the USA Hydrate Database. Members of the committee include: Dr. Dendy Sloan of the Colorado School of Mines, Dr. Timothy S. Collett of the USGS Denver Federal Center, Dr. George Claypool, Former Chief Scientist on Chevron JIP Project, Tom Smith of the Queens College, NY, and the project PI Michael Frenkel of NIST.
  • Database contents have been established and target data is being collected and archived. It will include but not be limited to thermophysical properties, phase equilibrium, and crystal structure.
  • Extensions to Guided Data Capture (GDC) and SOURCE Data System have been completed and were designed for capture of thermophysical properties, phase equilibria and crystal structure for gas hydrates.
  • Developed consistency between Gas Hydrate Mark-up Language (GHML) and the NIST Thermo Mark-up Language (ThermoML) for thermodynamic properties.
  • Ken Kroelein and Mike Frenkel co-authored "Open Source for Clathrate Hydrates" that was presented at the Seventeenth Symposium on Thermophysical Properties in Boulder, CO June 21-26, 2009. The meeting was sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Joint ASME-AIChE Committee on Thermophysical Properties.
  • The “Clathrate Hydrate Physical Property Database” has been created and is now available at: [external site].
  • Phase 2 of the project included the completion of window-based guided data capture software, initial data collection activities, NIST SOURCE Data System Extension, and coordination of GHML and ThermoML as well as confirmation of functionality using data samples and initiation of design and development of an Oracle web interface and infrastructure.
  • The web-dissemination software was developed. The captured data files were reviewed and populated into the database. A data interface for the World Wide Web was developed following a web service paradigm. This included developing a WSDL (Web Services Description Language) document for interface and service specification, software for translating internal representations of data into a prescribed and standard data format (GHML) and development of software to consume this data format and output HTML (HyperText Markup Language) for interacting with this service through a standard web browser. This development was performed in concert with the CODATA Gas Hydrates Workgroup to guarantee interoperability with their data dissemination efforts.
  • NIST researchers have developed and populated a database of thermophysical and crystallographic properties of clathrate hydrates from literature sources which builds upon the experience gained from developing and maintaining the well-established SOURCE Data Archival system. The Gas Hydrates Mark-up Language originally developed by a CODATA task group was refined in conjunction with the development team to communicate data sets. The wide range of complexity observed in relevant data sets, including clathrate hydrates of natural gases in marine environments, necessitated a new framework for thermophysical property storage. This framework can encode an arbitrary number of chemical components, phases observed and compositional distribution data while still respecting the information constraints of the Gibbs phase rule. This data source is accessible on the World Wide Web on a free and open basis.

Current Status
The “ Clathrate Hydrate Physical Property Database [externall site]” has been created and is now available.

This project has been completed and the final report is available below under "Additional Information".

Project Start: September 1, 2006
Project End: September 30, 2009

DOE Contribution: $750,000 
Performer Contribution: $0

Contact Information
NETL – Sandra McSurdy ( or 412-386-4533
NIST – Michael Frenkel ( or 303-497-3952)

Additional Information 
In addition to the information provided here, a full listing of project related publications and presentations as well as a listing of funded students can be found in the Methane Hydrate Program Bibliography [PDF].

Final Project Report [PDF-2.41MB]

Clathrate Hydrate Physical Property Database [external site]

Year 2 Annual Report [PDF-1.00MB] - October 1, 2007 - September 20, 2008

2008 Hydrate Peer Review [PDF-1.28MB]

Phase 1 Final Report [PDF-921KB] - October 1, 2006 - September 20, 2007

Kroenlein K., Löwner R., Wang W., Diky V., Smith T., Muzny C. D., Chirico R. D., Kazakov A., Sloan E. D., and Frenkel M., Standardization and Software Infrastructure for Gas Hydrate Data Communications. 6th International Conference on Gas Hydrates, Vancouver, 2008.

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