Microbial Methanogenesis and Strategies for Enhancements

Science Center Objects

Microbial (biogenic) natural gas is present in shale, coal and petroleum reservoirs and is estimated to account for 20% of the world’s natural gas resources. We provide hydrological, geochemical and microbial information related to the production of biogenic natural gas and new methods to monitor and enhance the production of this energy resource. Generating microbial methane at a faster rate from subsurface hydrocarbon deposits could extend the life of natural gas wells through microbially-enhanced natural gas production. This technology could increase natural gas resources and utilize existing infrastructure once in-ground resources have been depleted (e.g., depleted oil and gas reservoirs).

Barnhart E.P., Weeks E.P., Jones E.J.P., Ritter D.J., McIntosh J.C., Clark A.C., Ruppert L.F., Cunningham A.B., Orem W., and Fields M.W., 2016, Characterization of hydrogeochemistry and coal-associated bacterial populations from a methanogenic coal bed: Identification of potential biosurfactant production: International Journal of Coal Geology, v. 162, p. 14-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2016.05.001. IP-071554.

Shelton, J.L., McIntosh, J.C., Warwick, P.D., and McCray, J.E., 2016, Impacts of formation water geochemistry and crude oil biodegradation on microbial methanogenesis: Organic Geochemistry, v.98, p.105-117. DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2016.05.008, IP-073458.

Soares, A., Edwards, A., An, D., Bagnoud, A. Barnhart, E. P., Bomberg, M., Budwill, K, Gralnick., J., Kadnikov, V., Momper, L., Moreau, J.W., Moser, D., Mu, A., Osburn, M., Purkamo, L., Rassner, S. M., Voordouw, G., Wouters, K., and Mitchell, A. C., 2019, A global perspective on microbial diversity in the terrestrial deep subsurface: Nature Geoscience, [IP-106711] in review.

Davis, K.J., Platt, G.A., Barnhart, E.P., Heibert, R., Hyatt, R., Fields, M.W., and Gerlach, R., 2019, Scale-up of microbially enhanced coalbed methane strategies with upflow column reactors: Fuel [IP-106712] in review.

Smith, H., Schweitzer, H., Barnhart, E.P., Orem, W., Gerlach, R., and Fields, M.W., 2019, Linking Organic Matter Degradation and Microbial Assemblage Composition to Subsurface Methane Production in the Powder River Basin: Appl. & Env. Micro., [IP-106713] in review.

Abstracts

Barnhart, E. P. Weeks, E.P., Jones, E.J.P., Ritter, D.J., McIntosh, J.C., Clark, A.C., Fields, M.W., Ruppert, L.F, and Orem, W., 2015, Characterization of hydrogeochemistry and coal-associated bacterial populations from a methanogenic coal bed: Identification of potential biosurfactant production: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting , Baltimore, November 2015.

Earll M.,Barnhart E., Ritter D., Vinson D., Orem W., Vengosh A., and McIntosh J., 2015, Source and bioavailability of trace metals and nutrients in a microbial coalbed methane system.  American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December 2015. Program and Abstracts.

Shelton, J.L., McIntosh, J.C., Akob, D., Warwick, P.D., and McCray, J.E., 2015, Linking microbial community presence and diversity to formation water geochemistry [abs.]: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, November 2015, 1 p. IP-068274.

Orem W., Akob D., Barnhardt E., Clark A., Cunningham A., Dunlap D., Fields M., McIntosh J., Ruppert L., and Varonka M., 2015, Biodegradation pathways and organic intermediates in the conversion of coal geopolymers to methane: American Chemical Society Meeting, March  2015, Denver, CO. Program and Abstracts.

Barnhart E.P., Ruppert L.F., Orem WH, McIntosh J.C., Cunningham A.B., Fields M.W., Hiebert R., Hyatt R., 2016, Coalbed methane enhancement and Subsurface environment Sampler for improved in situ characterization of Subsurface microbial communities: Tester Senate Staffer Briefing, April, 2017, Bozeman, MT.

Barnhart E.P., Ruppert L.F., Orem W.H., McIntosh J.C., Cunningham A.B., Fields M.W., Hiebert R., and Hyatt R., 2016, Coalbed Methane Enhancement and Subsurface environment sampler for improved in situ characterization of subsurface microbial communities: Daines Senate Staffer Briefing, April 2017, Helena, MT.

Barnhart E.P., Ruppert L.F., Orem WH, McIntosh J.C., Cunningham A.B., Fields M.W., Hiebert R., and Hyatt R., 2016, Subsurface environment sampler for improved in situ characterization of subsurface microbial communities. USGS Innovations Meeting, December 2016, Menlo Park, CA [INVITED].

Barnhart E.P., Ruppert L.F., Orem WH, McIntosh J.C., Cunningham A.B., Fields M.W., Hiebert R., and Hyatt R., 2016, Subsurface environment sampler for improved in situ characterization of subsurface microbial communities: American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, December 2016, San Francisco, CA.

Shelton, J.L., McIntosh, J.C., Akob, D., Spear, J., Warwick, P.D., and McCray, J.E., 2016, Hydrobiogeochemical controls on a low-carbon emitting energy extraction mechanism: exploring methanogenic crude oil biodegradation [abs.]: European Geosciences union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, April 2016, 1 p. IP-071935.

Schweitzer, H.D., Ritter, D., Barnhart, E.P., Davis, K.J., Cunningham, A.B., Gerlach, R., McIntosh, J.C. and Fields, M.W., 2016, Aqueous sulfate levels control methanogen diversity and activity in       subsurface doal seams: AWRA, October 2016, Anaconda, MT.

Barnhart E.P., Ruppert L.F., Orem W.H., McIntosh J.C., Cunningham A.B., Fields M.W., Hiebert R., and Hyatt R., 2017, Subsurface Environment Sampler for downhole enhanced coalbed methane and other subsurface microbial investigations : July 2017, Radbound University, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Barnhart E.P., Ruppert L.F., Orem W.H., McIntosh J.C., Gerlach R., Cunningham A.B., Fields M.W., Hiebert R., and Hyatt R., 2017, Enhanced microbial coalbed methane generation: field site and diffusive microbial sampler investigations: SME/PCIMA Conference, Oct. 2017, Pittsburgh, PA [INVITED].

Gerlach, R., Davis K.J., Schweitzer H.D., Fields M.W., and Barnhart, E.P., 2017, Identifying the source, pathways, and rates of microbial coalbed methane production: International Symposium of Subsurface Microbiology, Nov. 2017, RotoruaNew Zealand.

Ruppert, L.F. and Orem, W., 2017, USGS – MSU cooperative studies of enhanced microbial methanogenesis of coal, Tongue River Basin, Montana: study background and site history: Department of Energy, Bozeman, MT.

Schweitzer, H.D., Ritter, D., Barnhart, E.P., Davis, K.J., Cunningham, A.B., Gerlach, R., McIntosh, J.C., and Fields, M.W., 2017, Aqueous Sulfate Levels Control Methanogen Diversity and Activity in Subsurface Coal Seams, International Symposium of Subsurface Microbiology, Nov. 2017, RotoruaNew Zealand,

Barnhart E.P., Ruppert L.F., Orem W.H., McIntosh J.C., Gerlach R., Cunningham A.B., Fields M.W., Hiebert R., Hyatt R., Scholin C., Yamahara K., Marin R., Birch J., Sepulveda A., Merkes C., Wright P., and  Kinsey S., 2018, Moving microbiology and DNA analysis out of the lab and into the field with new technology: Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Seminar Series, Jan. 2018, Butte, MT [INVITED]

Barnhart E.P., Ruppert L.F., Orem W.H., McIntosh J.C., Gerlach R., Cunningham A.B., Fields M.W., Hiebert R., Hyatt R., Scholin C., Yamahara K., Marin R., Birch J., Sepulveda A., Merkes C., Wright P., and Kinsey S., 2018, Moving microbiology and DNA analysis out of the lab and into the field with new technology: Center for Biofilm Engineering Seminar Series, Feb. 2018, Bozeman, MT [INVITED]

Barnhart E.P., Ruppert L.F., Orem W.H., McIntosh J.C., Gerlach R., Cunningham A.B., Fields M.W., Hiebert R., Hyatt R., Scholin C., Yamahara K., Marin R., Birch J., Sepulveda A., Merkes C., Wright P., and Kinsey S., 2018, Moving microbiology and DNA analysis out of the lab and into the field with new technology: USGS Innovation Conference, Feb. 2018, Reston, VA [INVITED]