Ceramic Proppant Design for In-Situ Microbially Enhanced Methane Recovery Email Page
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Performer:  University of Utah Location:  Salt Lake City, Utah
Project Duration:  10/01/2014 – 09/30/2017 Award Number:  FE0024088
Technology Area:  Gasification Systems Total Award Value:  $464,391
Key Technology:  Novel Technologies to Advance Conventional Gasification DOE Share:  $371,513
Performer Share:  $92,878

Proppants hold open fractured coal seams<br/>as microbes produce methane
Proppants hold open fractured coal seams
as microbes produce methane

Project Description

The University of Utah will develop new technology to enhance the economic viability of in situ microbial coal-to-methane conversion within otherwise un-mineable fossil fuel resources. The primary objective is to demonstrate a new method for delivering microbes to the reservoir. A new ceramic proppant (used to "prop open" hydraulic fractures) will be designed specifically to have improved fluid transport properties while simultaneously delivering microbial consortia to coal seams. In tandem, viable nutrients and microbial consortia will be identified. Bench-scale measurements will verify heating value, cost, and production rates.

Project Benefits

The University of Utah's improved design and new materials for high-strength lightweight porous ceramic proppant can make production more economical. The proppant can also serve as a delivery mechanism for bacterial consortia to biogenically convert coal to methane. Even if the microbial conversion activity is primarily in the vicinity of the proppant, the reservoir conductivity can be enhanced by biologically converting fines and waxy build-up into methane and maintaining conductivity of the proppant pack. There is commercial potential for using microbially enhanced methane recovery to boost methane production in current wells or to reactivate abandoned coalbed methane wells that already have infrastructure in place but are no longer producing methane actively.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Jason Lewis: jason.lewis@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager K David Lyons: k.lyons@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator Taylor Sparks: sparks@eng.utah.edu