Critters Crunch Coal, Fart Methane

“Luca Technologies, a startup based in Golden, CO, has raised $76 million to scale up a process that uses coal-digesting microorganisms to convert coal into methane. The process is designed to operate underground, inside coal beds. Methane, the key component of natural gas, can then be pumped out and used to generate electricity or power vehicles.

If the process proves economical, it could help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, since burning natural gas releases half as much carbon dioxide as does burning coal.”

Coal Eating Microbes

Of course methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, though it stays in the atmosphere much less time. We’d like to see the numbers crunched before these critters are given the jack-up juice to make them out compete their methane suppressing cousins.

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