Luca Technologies raises $76 million for microbes that 'eat' coal, 'breathe out' natural gas

January 08 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2019   Rating: 2

Luca TechnologiesMIT Technology Review is reporting on a $76 million funding round by Luca Technologies to expand its 'geobioreactor' process that 'uses coal-digesting microorganisms to convert coal into methane.'

The catch? 

It happens while the coal is inside the Earth!

The bioenergy reactions occurs inside the planet, and the natural gas is pumped out using conventional techniques.  The methane can then be used for electric power generation plant or as a feedstock for materials. 

Microbes & 'Geobioreactors'
We have written dozens of articles on bioenergy solutions that use algae and bacteria to 'eat' carbon to produce usuable forms of liquid or gas fuels.  It remains a very promising strategy for carbon utilization and energy production.  But this is a very different strategy that attempts to change the notion of coal as a resource while it remains locked inside the Earth.

Historically humans have used coal as a resource for combustion based power generation in power plants.  This is a low cost source of energy, but results in the release of enormous amounts of greenhouse gases.

Luca Technologies's vision is powerful and the end result is a fuel (methane/natural gas) that has a much higher hydrogen to carbon ratio, which means significantly less carbon emissions.

Related posts on the future of bioenergy on The Energy Roadmap.com

Clean Coal via algae? Bioenergy startups could transform China's coal industry in 20 years
Comprehensive list of algae biofuel startups
Investors betting on biological future for biofuels – We can ‘grow’ energy!
‘Growing Energy’ – TED Talk by Juan Enriquez

Steve Jurvetson: Biology and Energy are Converging & Accelerating

PetroSun developing catfish algae farm solutions

UK to invest in 'Green Oil' for 2020
SunEthanol is now 'Qteros', cellulosic startup raises $25 million to focus on next generation biofuels
Airline industry moving towards next generation biofuels

 

Image Credit Luca Technlogies

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