Methane Emission Control and Utilization
Methane (CH4) is often beneficial, as it can be utilized as a source of energy; however, when CH4 is released to the atmosphere, it is a very potent greenhouse gas with ~22 times higher global warming potential. A huge portion of methane biologically generated in the anoxic environments are oxidized in situ, thanks to the group of microorganisms called methanotrophs, or methane oxidizers. These microorganisms can consume methane for both biomass building and energy conservation, and thus have great potential in removal of released methane from landfills or shale gas drilling sites.
The Environmental Microbiology Laboratory at KAIST is taking part in the C1 refinery project funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) to develop industrial processes to convert methane to more valuable and convenient products with minimum energy and carbon loss.