Microbially enhanced coal-bed methane (MECBM) production is an innovative idea to stimulate biogenic coal-bed methane production by providing methanogens and nutrients to the coal and, thus, enhancing the microbial conversion of coal to gas. However, little is known about the environmental conditions favourable to CBM production, or the details of interactions of microbes and nutrients that promote CBM production. Numerical modeling is a powerful and efficient tool to test hypotheses developed from experimental studies and to design new experimental setups.
This project has its focus on the development of a numerical model for simulating MECBM-related processes into the Open-Source numerical simulator DuMux. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the relevant processes of MECBM and their interactions to formulate a conceptual model, including flow and transport of fluids as well as micro-biological, chemical, and adsorption/desorption processes. The implementation of the model builds up on previous work concerning microbially induced calcite precipitation (MICP) where a similar coupling of biogeochemistry to flow and transport is given.
This project is linked to an ongoing experimental DoE-project at Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman/USA. The project „Increasing the rate and extent of microbial coal to methane conversion through optimization of microbial activity, thermodynamics, and reactive transport“ at MSU, which is funded by the US Department of Energy, will provide the required inputs to develop the conceptual model and to calibrate and validate it with experimental data. It is further envisioned to apply the developed numerical model for a transfer to the field-scale and the design of a corresponding setup in the field.