Monday, December 17, 2012
Researchers developing bacteria to turn methane waste into diesel fuel
"The product that we’re shooting for will have the same fuel characteristics as diesel," said principal investigator Mary Lidstrom, a UW professor of chemical engineering and microbiology. "It can be used in trucks, boats, buses, cars, tractors – anything that diesel does now."
They will target the natural gas associated with oil fields, which is often flared off as waste, as well as so-called "stranded" natural gas reserves that are too small for a pipeline to be economically viable.
The team aims to capture that natural gas and use bacteria to turn its main component, methane, into a liquid fuel for transportation.
"The goal at the end of three years is to have an integrated process that will be ready for pre-commercialization pilot testing," Lidstrom said.