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Genomic Enhancement of Microbial or Biomimetic Means of Solid Hydrocarbon Conversion

Description:

At least half of the U.S. solid hydrocarbon fuel deposits are not economically recoverable according to EIA. Uneconomic deposits are usually situated in geologically challenging, environmentally restricted or costly locations. Research is sought that evaluates or demonstrates man-made modifications to existing biomimetic microbial methods of exploiting known genetic attributes of microbial mechanisms for efficiently converting solid hydrocarbon deposits into higher value or more easily transportable products. Examples include modifying methanogenic microbial or biomimetic means for enhanced methane yields in broader temperature ranges, broader moisture ranges or broader solid hydrocarbon fuel species. Although, chemical or processing pathways exist for higher value chemical products such as inks, toners or pharmaceuticals, there are limited studies in near-zero or reduced carbon dioxide emissions using microbial or biologically direct pathways to higher value products from solid hydrocarbon fuel deposits. What is sought are verifiable or validated modifications that yield
lower life cycle carbon dioxide emissions, lower costs and greater conversion efficiency of solid hydrocarbon fuel deposits residing in difficult to extract locations at unconventional depths. Verification means can include computational methods backed by appropriate experimental validation.

Other US Government agencies such as USGS, NSF, USDA and NASA previously completed or published research on naturally occurring microbial  methanogenic organisms, some of which are referenced herein.

Grant applications are sought for the development of a genomic modification to an existing organism such as an existing methanogenic bacteria species. The objective is to identify a yield improvement that can be reasonably tested and shown to have significant, economically justifiable product yields. Alternatively, research is sought for biomimetic chemical conversion pathways more optimal than pathways observed using said microbial organisms which would
reduce carbon dioxide emissions or revitalize uneconomic CBM fields. Proposed approaches must be novel, innovative and show compelling economic advantages over the prior approaches.

Questions – contact Joe Wong, joe.wong@hq.doe.gov

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