Millennium Natural Resources is a UK company developing and deploying technology that can facilitate clean, secure and sustainable energy production, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Coal is the world's most abundant hydrocarbon based resource, holding known reserves significantly greater than those know for gas and oil. The challenge with coal is that the carbon footprint to extract, transport and use for power generation is too great. This traditional use of coal has limited future, but rather than ignore this significant global resource, we must look to find a better and cleaner way of harnessing its potential.
Millennium Natural Resources is working with its joint venture partner to progress the development of projects based on In-Situ Bio-Conversion (ISBC) across Europe. ISBC is a ground breaking approach where carbonaceous substrates in coal are fermented underground to make methane-rich biogas. It does this through what the company refers to as a ‘passive activation process’. Specifically, ISBC doesn’t use chemicals and doesn’t force fracture the ground, so there is no risk to groundwater or the surrounding environment. As such ISBC offers a new and exciting clean alternative to produce natural.
The application of ISBC, which is referred to by some developers as Microbial Coal Conversion (MCC), is distinctly different from fracking for shale gas and underground coal gasification (UCG). Compared to the former, it does not apply positive pressure to fracture geology; instead it uses the natural discontinuities – the cleat – to provide a pathway for natural microbes and nutrients to migrate through the coal, stimulating fermentation and methanogenation. Neither is it a natural propagation process like UCG - it can be suppressed by retarding nutrient injection.
Key features of the technology that make it distinct from alternatives like fracking and UCG are:
- there is no hydraulic fracturing needed or required
- it is a low pressure water flow process
- no gas is produced from the ground
- no toxic chemicals are used or produced
- it utilises water bores rather than gas wells so the drilling footprint is greatly reduced
- all water is recycled
- it is a safe biological process