In Situ Microbial Conversion of Sequestered Greenhouse Gases

Period of Performance: 01/01/2004 - 12/31/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Altuda Energy Corporation
401 Austin Highway, Suite 209
San Antonio, TX 92703
Principal Investigator


72494-This project will use microbiological bioconversion technology in situ to convert sequestered greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, into methane and other useful organic compounds. Indigenous anaerobic bacteria will be added to coal along with supplemental nutrients to stimulate bioconversion. In Phase I, a large number of coal samples were collected from coalbed methane wells for microbial evaluation. The feasibility of using microorganisms to convert coal into methane was demonstrated. Specific areas for coal and microorganism collection during Phase II were identified. In Phase II, microbial enrichments will be prepared from coal (both whole core and cutting samples) and evaluated for methane formation. The microbes will be isolated and characterized, and an optimum culture mix will be developed. Factors affecting bioconversion economics will be evaluated, and industry stakeholders will be identified and contacted for Phase III Field Tests. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: The in situ bioconversion of sequestered greenhouse gases, along with part of the coal, into methane would provide clean, environmentally friendly energy and significantly increase U.S. natural gas supplies, thereby reducing foreign energy dependency. The same bioconversion technology could be applied to coalbed methane wells with high concentrations of naturally-occurring carbon dioxide, resulting in the bioconversion of undesirable greenhouse gases into an environmentally friendly energy resource. Additionally, the indigenous microorganisms in coal beds may contain genomes that would have useful applications in the biomedical industry or other fields.