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Biological CO2 methanation


Technology Description

Biological CO2 methanation is the conversion of CO2 to methane through hydrogenation using biological catalysts, i.e., methanogenic microorganisms that convert CO2 and H2 into methane. A source of CO2 is needed, which may come from exhaust gases from combustion (industry, power generation), fermentation, anaerobic digestion (biogas) or be captured directly from the air. Biological methanation is conducted at moderate temperature and pressure without chemical catalysts, and it is more tolerant to feedstock fluctuations and impurities than the chemical methanation process. The key limitation of the biological route is the low hydrogen gas-to-liquid mass transfer, which leads to lower space-time yields and the requirement of bigger reactor dimensions.

Relevance for Net Zero

Some technologies, such as biogas or syngas production, generate a significant amount of CO2 that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The possibility of using this carbon source for fuels for hard-to-abate sectors should be considered. The biological CO2 methanation pathway does not require high temperatures and its operating rate can vary compared to the chemical pathway.

Key Countries

Germany, Denmark, Japan, Switzerland

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