Bacteria-devouring methane produces biofuels and biopolymers

January 5, 2020 |

In Canada, a University of Alberta researcher is investigating ways to eliminate atmospheric methane on an industrial scale while producing sustainable biofuels and biopolymers by using microscopic bacteria that eat methane and convert it into valuable ingredients in biofuels.

Ultimately, the idea is to install bioreactors at industrial sites that produce methane. The gas can be piped into the bioreactor. Under ideal conditions, the bacteria will eat and process the methane—and multiply—at steady state. While byproducts are pumped out, more methane can be added to the vessel. This process is called self-cycling fermentation. By piping into a methane-producing system, the bioreactors containing the methane-devouring bacteria will be able to eliminate as much methane as the tiny lifeforms can consume–which is a lot.

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Category: Research

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