Prehistoric Power Station for 21st Century Energy Production

Anna Alessi, Bing Tao, Sonia Heaven, Charles Banks, Jane Elizabeth Thomas-Oates, James Paul Jonathan Chong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


From ‘gassy cows’ to peatlands, wetlands, and sediments, a natural process called anaerobic digestion is performed without oxygen by microorganisms that eat dead organic matter and breath out methane as an end by-product of their digestion. The production of methane via biologically optimised process offer an alternative to natural gas consumption as its demand increases annually (EU by 7.1% since 2010). Examples of converting domestic waste to gaseous, energy-rich biomethane are reported across the UK and the world with the potential to use this renewable energy source for national grid balancing and transportation. Biomethane production however requires upgrading which is a cost-limiting step making the process economically unviable. Using experimental approaches such as laboratory scale reactors and DNA sequencing, we are studying the identity and physiology of the microorganisms responsible for anaerobic digestion and methane production. The analysis will provide us with a detailed picture of the microorganisms involved in the process, their interactions and changes in their abundance during the experiment. This provides us with a starting point to better understand the complexity of this process and ways of improving the yield of methane-rich biogas so it can be readily used in our daily lives.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2018
EventSTEM for Britain - House of Commons, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Mar 201812 Mar 2018


ConferenceSTEM for Britain
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
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