Importance of specific substrate utilization by microbes in microbially enhanced coal-bed methane production: A modelling study

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2020-07

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This study addresses a major gap in the understanding and control of microbially enhanced coal-bed methane (MECBM) production. A mathematical and conceptual model comprises a food-web that includes two types of bacteria and three types of archaea representing substrate-specific members of the community; the microbial community members are potentially interacting by competing for or being inhibited by substrates or products of other microbial community members. The model was calibrated using data sets from two different experimental setups. The calibrated model effectively predicted the methane concentrations within a 7% range of deviation from the experimental results. The results of additional batch experiments using varied conditions are also reproduced in an attempt to validate the model and to test the hypothesis of amendment-induced stimulation of microbial community members capable of converting coal into substrates available to methane producing microbes. This study significantly enhances the understanding of the complex interactions between microbial activity, substrate-specificity and bio-availability of coal for methane production, and provides the basis for including hydraulic flow and transport processes into future mathematical models important for the design and implementation of more sustainable methods of harvesting methane from un-mineable coalbeds.

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Emmert, Simon, Holger Class, Katherine J. Davis, and Robin Gerlach. “Importance of Specific Substrate Utilization by Microbes in Microbially Enhanced Coal-Bed Methane Production: A Modelling Study.” International Journal of Coal Geology 229 (September 2020): 103567. doi:10.1016/j.coal.2020.103567.
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