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CoalBioreactor for In-situ Coal Biomethanation

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This invention “CoalBioreactor for in-situ coal biomethanation” relates to a bioreactor (unregistered trade name CoalBioreactor), invented for accelerated natural or imitated biomethanation of all types of coal in-situ (to deal with very hard, solid, insoluble and complex substrate like coal and/or hydrocarbons) without contaminating the subsurface surroundings to biogenic methane (biomethane) for its recovery at surface.

The bioreactor has an impermeable enclosure in subsurface target coal formation, the operational area for in-situ biomethanation process, which is connected to surface through a central vertical well, passing through subsurface formations overlying the target coal formation, for recovery of the biomethane generated in the subsurface impermeable enclosure at surface and injection of CO2 in the subsurface impermeable enclosure to make feasible utilization of all types of coal, especially those that are non-extractable/un-mineable, as a source of renewable energy (industrial and commercial energy for a very prolonged period and industrial sink for CO2 sequestration).

There are various existing methods of utilizing biological microorganisms for converting a marginal percentage (hardly 1 to 2%) of some forms of hard substrates (coal/ hydrocarbons) to gas, and some methods for economical recovery of gas from naturally existing subsurface hydrocarbon formations by in situ conversion of such materials through consortium of microorganisms and other amendments injected into the formation; however, none of them disclose methods for conversion of a substantially very high percentage (63 to 68%) of substrates to gas and its industrial and commercial recovery at surface with commercial energy availability from 55 to 75% i.e. suitability of in-situ biomethanation of coal as an energy extraction technology (EET), and utilizing its main associated pollute CO2 (production and combustion of biomethane emits CO2) for value additions. Sequestered CO2 pushes the biomethane generated subsurface to surface, acts as a green solvent to make more substrate bioavailable and later on acts itself as a substrate, so that the biomethane generation process (i.e. energy extraction technology) becomes sustainable, and at the same time biomethane generation process (i.e. energy extraction technology) carbon-neutral/ carbon-negative.

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