Microbial coal-to-gas process headed to Asia
Ciris Energy, a US company that uses naturally occurring microbes to convert coal to natural gas, is to use some of the USD25 million it has just received from a Hong Kong-based investor to fund expansion into Asia.
The company’s CEO, Jay Short, told Bloomberg the new capital will be used to expand into new sites in the US and other countries, with a focus on Asia, but he declined to be any more specific.
Ciris Energy’s technology relies on microorganisms that already exist underground, which are stimulated to consume coal and emit methane. It says the process enables extraction of natural gas in more areas and others previously thought to be tapped out.
While gas that’s extracted from coal seams with conventional methods is also generated by microbes, Short said his company’s technology accelerates that natural process.
“We can go into a coal-bed methane field that is no longer producing gas and add nutrients to it and get on the order of 10 to 20 times more gas than the field ever had in the first place,” said Short.
“It takes months for this to work, which is pretty good when you consider that the original gas took thousands of years to make, if not longer.”