Making microbial methane work: The potential for new biogenic gas ///

Recent studies have shown that viable methanogenic microorganisms are still present in a number of unconventional biogenic gas reservoirs. This suggests the potential for the production of new methane from existing coal, shale and oil deposits in real time, resulting in a renewable source of natural gas. Various non-organic nutrients may need to be introduced into deposits to stimulate in situ methane production. Such nutrients may not be the only limiting factor, as laboratory studies indicate that the surface area and bioavailability of the organic substrates can also influence methane production rates. In this case, conventional reservoir treatments such as fracing, steam flooding, acid treatments and the use of surfactants may be beneficial. A basic knowledge of the environmental conditions needed for microbial methane production may also be used to screen for sites with the best potential for real-time in situ methane production.

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