Organic intermediates in coal fluids produced by anaerobic biodegradation of geopolymers in coal play a key role in the production of methane in natural gas reservoirs. Laboratory biodegradation experiments on sub-bituminous coal from Texas, USA, were conducted using bioreactors to examine the organic intermediates relevant to methane production. Production of methane in the bioreactors was linked to acetate accumulation in bioreactor fluid. Long chain fatty acids, alkanes (C19-C36) and various low molecular weight aromatics, including phenols, also accumulated in the bioreactor fluid and appear to be the primary intermediates in the biodegradation pathway from coal-derived geopolymers to acetate and methane. ?? 2010.
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Organic intermediates in the anaerobic biodegradation of coal to methane under laboratory conditions