Coal biomethanation potential of various ranks from Pakistan: A possible alternative energy source

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Abstract

The present study investigated the possibility of microbial transformations of coal to gas (biogasification) as an alternative to conventional coal mining because this approach has the potential to be less expensive, cleaner, and providinge greater access to deeper coal resources. Biogasification is often associated with low rank coal such as lignite and subbituminous coal that hasve produced enough coalbed methane to be commercially viable in the United States and Australia. However, little work has been done to analyze the potential of biogasification in higher rank coal. For this purpose, bioassay using a wetland-derived consortium, and a coal-derived consortium were used to analyze coal samples from Pakistan belonging to different ranks (lignite to semi-anthracite). Among all samples a low volatile bituminous coal produced the maximum methane 34.95 µmol CH4/g coal with the wetland-derived microbial consortium, followed by subbituminous coal (30.18 µmol CH4/g coal). Lower methane levels were recorded with the coal-derived consortium, with subbituminous coal yielding the highest concentration (25.1 µmol CH4/g coal). Methane levels appeared to be increasing on the last measurement indicating the coal-derived consortium was slower than the wetland-derived consortium but could still catalyze biogasification in higher rank coals. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis for mcrA functional genes suggested indicated that the microbial community members that produce methane (methanogens) varied during the incubations. Energy conversion efficiency of different strategies (other biological and underground coal gasification processes) was also compared and discussed. This study was the first to compare bioassay using consortia of microbes non-indigenous and indigenous to coal and indicate the potential of biogasification from many different coalbeds across Pakistan.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Coal biomethanation potential of various ranks from Pakistan: A possible alternative energy source
DOI 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.120177
Volume 255
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) WY-MT Water Science Center
Description 120177, 11 p.
Country Pakistan
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