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US-Based Researchers Develop System for Converting Waste Methane to Microbial Biomass
by Liz Gyekye (Bioenergy Insight) A new paper by researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) describes a process that captures methane from natural gas and biogas and that uses photosynthesis to convert it into biomass feedstock.
The new paper is called ‘A flexible microbial co-culture platform for simultaneous utilization of methane and carbon dioxide from gas feedstocks
’, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory reported.
According to the research, as a result of this new process, energy-rich carbon is not dispersed into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Instead, it is converted to useful products.
Microbial biomass is a promising intermediate feedstock for synthesising biofuels and bioproducts. It can be processed by using modern thermochemical conversion technologies, including hydrothermal liquefaction and pyrolysis methods that produce biocrudes that are much like petroleum crude oils.
This new benchmark technology for co-cultivation converts anthropogenic CH4 and CO2 into beneficial microbial feedstocks in a way that positively impacts the environment, according to the researchers. Presently, these two gases are the largest manmade contributors of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
That is because a large fraction of natural gas and biogas - significant sources of man-made CH4 and CO2 – are flared or vented into the air. READ MORE