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This content will become publicly available on August 18, 2018

Title: Developing methanogenic microbial consortia from diverse coal sources and environments

Biogenic gas production is a promising alternative or supplement to conventional methane extraction from coalbeds. Adsorbed and free gas, generated over geologic time, can be supplemented with biogenic gas during short-term engineering operations. There are two generic protocols for doing this. The first is to contact the coal with nutrients to support native bacterial development. The second approach is to inject appropriately cultured ex-situ consortia into subsurface coal accumulations. Research has mainly focused on the former: in-situ stimulation of native microbial communities with added nutrients. Relatively few studies have been conducted on the strategies for enriching ex-situ microbial populations under initial atmospheric exposure for subsequent injection into coal seams to stimulate biodegradation, and methanogenesis. In order to evaluate the feasibility of ex-situ cultivation, natural microbial populations were collected from various hydrocarbon-rich environments and locations characterized by natural methanogenesis. Different rank coals (i.e., lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous), complex hydrocarbon sources (i.e., oil shale, waxy crude), hydrocarbon seeps, and natural biogenic environments were incorporated in the sampling. Three levels of screening (down-selection to high grade the most productive consortia) allowed selection of microbial populations, favorable nutrient amendments, sources of the microbial community, and quantification of methane produced from various coal types. Incubation periodsmore » of up to twenty-four weeks were evaluated at 23 °C. Headspace concentrations of CH 4 and CO 2 were analyzed by gas chromatography. After a two-week incubation period of the most promising microbes, generated headspace gas concentrations reached 873,400 ppm (154 sft 3/ton or 4.8 scm 3/g) for methane and 176,370 ppm (31 sft 3/ton or 0.9 scm 3/g) for carbon dioxide. Rudimentary statistical assessments – variance analysis (ANOVA) of a single factor - were used to identify trends and levels of significance or impact of the consortia enrichment. We then demonstrated that microbial communities from coal and lake sediments can be enriched and adapted to effectively generate methane under initial atmospheric exposure. The development and enrichment of these methanogenic consortia is described.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4]
  1. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Dept. of Chemical Engineering
  2. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Dept. of Chemical Engineering; Energy and Geoscience Inst., Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
  3. Inotec Inc., Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
  4. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Dept. of Biology
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 46; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1875-5100
Research Org:
Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
Country of Publication:
United States
01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; gasification; Microbial consortia; Methanogenesis; CBM; Methane; Carbon dioxide
OSTI Identifier: