The availability of free energy densities as functions of temperature, pressure and the composition of all components is required for the development of a three-component phase field theory for hydrate phase transitions. We have broadened the extended adsorption theory due to Kvamme and Tanaka (J. Phys. Chem., 1995, 99, 7114) through derivation of the free energy density surface in case of CO2 and CH4 hydrates. A combined free energy surface for the liquid phases has been obtained from a SRK equation of state and solubility measurements outside hydrate stability. The full thermodynamic model is shown to predict water–hydrate equilibrium properties in agreement with experiments. Molecular dynamics simulations of hydrates in contact with water at 200 bar and various temperatures allowed us to estimate hard-to-establish properties needed as input parameters for the practical applications of proposed theories. The 5–95 confidence interval for the interface thickness for the methane hydrate/liquid water is estimated to 8.54 Å. With the additional information on the interface free energy, the phase field theory will contain no adjustable parameters. We provide a demonstration of how this theory can be applied to model the kinetics of hydrate phase transitions. The growth of hydrate from aqueous solution was found to be rate limited by mass transport, with the concentration of solute close to the hydrate approaching the value characterizing the equilibrium between the hydrate and the aqueous solution. The depth of the interface was estimated by means of the phase field analysis; its value is close to the interface thickness yielded by molecular simulations. The variation range of the concentration field was estimated to approximately 1/3 of the range of the phase field.
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