Microbial bioconversion of coal to chemicals and Natural gas

Ciris Energy is a company with a team of scientists who reasearch on tranforming carbon-based resources into methane and other valubale chemicals. They use two technologies, ISBC – In Situ(meaning ‘location’) Bioconversion and ESBC – Ex Situ Bioconversion.

ISBC process is conducted below ground in coal seams where indigenous microbes convert coal to methane.

Advantages of ISBC are:

    • Harmful constituents in the coal remain underground
    • Nutrients used to promote the growth of living microbes are environmentally safe and naturally biodegradable
    • Low water requirements

ESBC technology is conducted above ground after coal has been mined and combines a low cost thermochemical pretreatment of coal with engineered microbes to convert coal to chemicals and methane.

Advantages:

    • Generates high value chemicals and biogas from low cost coal and
    • Environmentally friendly, coal is not burned and there are no emissions of harmful oxides.

Thus, the whole process involves low raw material costs, low capital, and low operating costs as well as the environmental advantages over other forms of chemical production.