Lignite is commonly used in the world power industry. However, traditional methods of lignite exploitation and utilization show a very negative impact to the environment. Generally mining causes large cone of depression and changes in the landscape. Approximately 99% of lignite from Polish mines is burned as fuel in power plants. It causes gas and dust emissions into the atmosphere. In connection with the promotion of clean coal technologies it is necessary to implement new methods of management of lignite deposits. This modern, clean technology is a biological processing of lignite.
Lignite is largely composed of elements of the original macrophytes matter such as lignin, humins, organic acids etc. It may be a source of carbon and other elements for microorganisms: bacteria and fungi. Moreover, lignite can be the raw material for chemical and biological production of components such organic fertilizers and compounds (e.g. humin acids) and fuel gases - methane and hydrogen. The current state of knowledge allows the gasification of lignite in the process of fermentation in bioreactors. For this purpose it is necessary in the first step to accurately control this process in laboratory conditions.
The aim of the project is to assess the possibility of alternative use of the Polish lignite to produce clean energy from methane and fertilizers from humic acids. At first lignite is fermenting under controlled conditions using a bacterial inoculum, medium, and various mineral additives. The next step are geochemical analyses in substrate-product system (gases, solutions, solids) of the individual components of the fermentation. The resulting gaseous products are identified by methods of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry for the measurement of isotopic ratios.
01.03.2012 - 31.01.2013
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ Department Isotopenbiogeochemie
Dr. Nuria Jimenez
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