Microbial power storage shows it can do the job: Microorganisms turn surplus power into natural gas within seconds

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Posted on September 19, 2013

New results have proven that certain microorganisms are capable of producing natural gas under industrial conditions. The method, based on microorganisms known as Archaea, converts climate-damaging CO2 and hydrogen into storable methane (natural gas). A recently completed pilot study has impressively demonstrated how quickly microorganisms can respond to sudden peaks in power generation and produce high quality natural gas to be fed into the grid.

Large-scale power storage is a major challenge. Considering rising power generation from renewable sources, there is an increasingly urgent need for a practical, commercial solution. While oil and gas can be converted into electricity in line with demand, wind, water and sun cannot be adapted as readily to fluctuations in power consumption. Efficient power storage solutions must satisfy two essential criteria: Their own consumption of resources must be as low as possible, and surplus power must be stored within seconds. The results of a pilot study at the Vienna University of Technology have now demonstrated that a microorganism-based process developed by Krajete GmbH is unequalled in the way it satisfies both of these criteria.

Primevally efficient

The process benefits from life characteristics of microorganisms known as Archaea, which have inhabited Earth’s extreme environments since the origin of life. These single-celled organisms are capable of converting CO2 and hydrogen into methane, i.e. natural gas. Commercial use of this ability has long been thwarted by the harsh living conditions under which the microorganisms feel truly at home.

 

Read more at: Phys.org



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