Europe’s natural gas prices are soaring, is there a way to make homemade fuel from archaea?

Not every country has natural gas fields, so in order to reduce dependence on other countries, the German science team wants to satisfy its own needs by “homemade” natural gas.

Natural Gas | National Geographic Society

This method is somewhat similar to home-brewed beer, where breweries use live yeast to convert sugar and starch into beer, while European energy companies want to use ancient bacteria as catalysts to convert carbon dioxide and hydrogen into methane (the main component of natural gas), by capturing carbon dioxide emitted from thermal power plants or factories, which can be converted into more useful fuel on the one hand, and prevent greenhouse gases from escaping into the atmosphere on the other.

Methanogenic archaea are single-celled microorganisms that have inhabited the Earth for billions of years, living in the world’s most inhospitable and unforgiving places, including deep underground gas reservoirs, volcanic hot springs, salt lakes, and various oxidation-deficient high-pressure environments.

Methanogenic microorganisms as workhorses of | EurekAlert!

These microorganisms, whose staple food is industrial waste and hydrogen, are converted into methane, which can then be injected directly by future energy companies into existing natural gas pipelines, infrastructure, and factories, or stored underground. Alexander Krajete, a patented chemist, said that ancient bacteria are 4 billion years old and are the oldest known metabolic ancestors, as well as nature’s survivors.

With European natural gas prices hitting record highs in recent years and geopolitical tensions in Russia, green alternatives have also become the focus, said Doris Hafenbradl, managing director of German company Electrochaea GmbH, “We don’t want to use fossil fuels from abroad, but to replace them with this renewable and low-carbon gas.

Electrochaea GmbH - Power-to-Gas Energy Storage | Market

But the journey is still a long one, and billions of euros of additional investment are still needed to make it commercially competitive. Hafenbradl said Electrochaea has already set up demonstration plants in Denmark, Hungary and Switzerland and expects to produce several hundred MWh of green gas in five years. gas in five years.