Study Investigates Conversion of Biomethane From CO2 and BiohydrogenChris Carpenter
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper IPTC 22744, “Accelerated Methanogenesis for the Conversion of Biomethane From Carbon Dioxide and Biohydrogen at Hyperthermophilic Conditions,” by Ivy C.C. Hsia, Petronas, and Mohd F.A. Wahab and Nur K.A. Jalil, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, et al. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2023 International Petroleum Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
Methanogenesis is the conversion of CO2 to methane (CH4) using microbes. In the context of CO2 usage, the process of methanogenesis using native microbes from a particular reservoir can be a very slow process without any external intervention. The study detailed in this complete paper investigates the use of agriculture byproducts such as palm oil mill effluent (POME) as substrates, along with potential microbial isolates that can produce biohydrogen at high temperatures. The authors write that stimulation of microbes using POME as substrate with hydrogen (H2)/CO2 supplementation is important in accelerating the rate and yield of CH4 production.
The authors write that a population of microbes isolated from sludge of agriculture wastes, when given proper conditions and nutrients, was able to accelerate the rate of methanogenesis. POME is an agricultural byproduct from which a huge microbial community can be manipulated for methanogenesis, specifically for hydrogen production. This study incorporates the process of dark fermentation, using POME to generate hydrogen required to convert CO2 to CH4 in a syntrophic reaction at hyperthermophilic temperatures. Accounting for both the high reservoir temperatures (above 100°C) common to Malaysia and the temperature-tolerance limit of most microorganisms in general, the authors selected 70°C as the temperature to be studied. They write that, as their team studied a range of different temperatures, anaerobic microbes showed no production of biohydrogen and CH4 above 70°C.