I found this interesting article the other day at the Green Optimist. It seems a company called Luca Technologies has come up with the idea of inserting microorganisms inside coal in the earth to change the coal into natural gas. It’s a great process for the environment because natural gas produces about half of the CO2 that coal does.
Luca Technologies even went so far as to add specific nutrients into the coal bed to increase the amount of gas released from the production. The process could also be used to collect useful fuel from coal that’s inaccessible to conventional mining. They’re still in the early stages but Luca is actively continuing research to better understand how the entire process works.
It’s another one of those stories with a lot of intriguing potential. The article estimates that by using this process 0.01% of US coal can produce the current annual natural-gas demand. I’ll need to do some research on that one.