Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Methanogenic Archaea Convert Electrons Into Methane

Carbon dioxide + water + electrons = methane + oxygen.

Penn State Live: Microbes turn electricity directly to methane.

University Park, Pa. -- A tiny microbe can take electricity and directly convert carbon dioxide and water to methane, producing a portable energy source with a potentially neutral carbon footprint, according to a team of Penn State engineers.

"We were studying making hydrogen in microbial electrolysis cells and we kept getting all this methane," said Bruce E. Logan, Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering, Penn State. "We may now understand why."

Methanogenic microorganisms do produce methane in marshes and dumps, but scientists thought that the organisms turned hydrogen or organic materials, such as acetate, into methane. However, the researchers found, while trying to produce hydrogen in microbial electrolysis cells, that their cells produced much more methane than expected.

"All the methane generation going on in nature that we have assumed is going through hydrogen may not be," said Logan. "We actually find very little hydrogen in the gas phase in nature. Perhaps where we assumed hydrogen is being made, it is not."

Microbial electrolysis cells do require an electrical voltage to be added to the voltage that is produced by bacteria using organic materials to produce current that evolves into hydrogen. The researchers found that the Archaea, using about the same electrical input, could use the current to convert carbon dioxide and water to methane without any organic material, bacteria or hydrogen usually found in microbial electrolysis cells. They report their findings in this week's issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

"We have a microbe that is self perpetuating that can accept electrons directly, and use them to create methane," said Logan.


Pleroma said...

"We actually find very little hydrogen in the gas phase in nature. Perhaps where we assumed hydrogen is being made, it is not."

You know what happens when you ass-u-me.

Bloggin' Brewskie said...

In a way this reminds me of several other experimental processes being conducted (here and here), where solar is used to convert CO2 into methane, or as stated in the second example, gasoline.

Anaconda said...

@ OilIsMastery:

Did you happen to watch Nova last night? The program was called "Last Extinction" and raised the comet impacting Earth theory for the extinction of the large animals of the North American continent. The date of the proposed impact: 12,900 years ago.

Many items of evidence discussed, here, on the Oil Is Mastery website were presented on the program, nano diamonds, meteorites, of course, ice ages.

Watching the program was like watching a confirmation of the ideas presented by this website.

The only item that wasn't raised which could explain the evidence of the impact, nano diamonds which are only found in impact and meteorites, similar to a fullerenes, and the onset of the ice age at the same time was the electromagnetism angle.

(A comet is electrically discharged, collapsing the ionosphere triggering the ice age.)

Otherwise, this website hit it out of the park.

Great job OilIsMastery, you were ahead of the curve.

OilIsMastery said...


I don't watch any television because I think it kills braincells but I do watch the internet so thx for the link.

I'm going to watch it right now (for free :P). (Hint: short-sell highly leveraged cable stocks).

Thx for the kind words.

I support Rand Flem-Ath's hypothesis that Atlantis is Antarctica and also that a technologically advanced civilization was destroyed there in the Holocene.

See destroyed worlds and lost civilizations on the sidebar.